When it comes to clean water, industrial agriculture remains New Zealand’s biggest challenge, and large-scale irrigation schemes planned around the country are set to make things worse.

People don’t necessarily make the link between irrigation and industrial agriculture. But the one leads directly to the other. Big irrigation schemes are being set up to take water from our rivers to enable more industrial agriculture (primarily dairying) where it wouldn’t otherwise have occurred. Where irrigation schemes have been built in the past, industrial dairying has often followed. Canterbury wasn’t even dairy country until irrigation came along.

We can’t risk a repeat of what happened in Havelock North – the worst waterborne gastro illness outbreak in New Zealand’s history. We have to start putting people’s health and the health of our rivers before industrial dairying…

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