New Zealand's dairy industry takes action against water waste

Thursday, 31 May, 2007

New Zealand's leading dairy cooperative, Fonterra has announced a new environmental policy that introduces tough measures against farmers who don't comply with environment standards in the management of effluent, with the ultimate sanction of not collecting farm milk.

"New Zealand's export businesses rely on our clean green image to maintain a competitive edge. So it's encouraging to see this significant New Zealand industry recognise the importance of looking after our environment, including the quality of our water," said Environmental Minister, Mr Benson-Pope.

The Dairying and Clean Streams Accord is a voluntary agreement between government and Fonterra that sets targets to reduce nutrient run-off that damages the health of our rivers and streams.

Nutrients flowing into fresh water contribute to algae blooms and reduce water quality. The level of nutrients in rivers has increased due to intensification of land use, according to a Ministry for Environment Report released in November 2006.

"Many farmers utilise best practice in effluent management. Fonterra's new policy sends a very clear message to the small number of laggards who are not complying with environmental standards set by regional councils. It also builds on and strengthens the Dairying and Clean Streams Accord," said Mr Benson-Pope.

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