21 Feb 2014

Cattle on drilling waste worry Greens

3:50 pm on 21 February 2014

The Green Party is outraged that a new report by the Taranaki Regional Council shows cattle in the region last year on paddocks that had oil industry waste recently spread on them.

Greens energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes says it's disgusting, because oil industry waste contains a wide range of petrochemicals - some of which are toxic.

But the Taranaki Regional Council says it has no power to regulate livestock on the farms that receive such waste (known as landfarms), and although cattle were exposed to the waste on one of the active landfarms that doesn't mean it allowed it to happen or that it condones it.

A spokesperson for the company running the landfarm says whether or not stock were on freshly spread oil industry waste was irrelevant in terms of its consent to run the farm.

The regional council's director of resource management, Fred McLay, says the council in no way approves of livestock grazing on active landfarms but it doesn't have juristiction when it comes to livestock, animal welfare or food safety issues.

He says those responsibilities lie with the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The ministry wouldn't give a direct answer to a question about whether it 's concerned by the report.

But market assurance director Tim Knox says in a statement that land farming is a new practice consented by regional councils and MPI "has been working to identify landfarms to include in our contaminant monitoring programme".

Landfarms in Taranaki have been receiving oil industry waste for the past 15 years.