The Problem

Page - September 14, 2016
Industrial dairying has failed. Take your pick of victim - our rivers, climate, farmers, reputation - they’ve all taken a battering.

Intensive farming requires chemical fertiliser, supplementary feed and lots of water. All these inputs increase our climate emissions, degrade our soil and pollute our rivers (two thirds of which are already at times too polluted to swim in safely). 

Intensive farming also throws our farmers into debt. New Zealand dairy farmers are now collectively burdened with a staggering $38 billion worth of debt.

And the situation’s about to get worse, with large, costly irrigation schemes planned throughout the country. These involve taking large volumes of water from rivers to use on dry pasture to allow more cows.  It’s a double whammy for the rivers. Water is taken from them, then returned polluted thanks to the cows. 

We should be cleaning up and protecting our waterways, not building giant irrigation schemes that will further deplete them. 

The industrial dairy sector is increasingly relying on irrigation to farm in places that wouldn’t otherwise be viable, such as  South Canterbury and the Hawke’s Bay. 

If the Government gets its way, one million hectares of land will be under irrigation by 2025 . That’s the equivalent of sixteen Lake Taupo’s. River pollution will be inevitable as a result, along with more farmer debt. 

Who’s paying for these dams? You!

Despite the risks and downsides of large-scale irrigation, the Government is throwing over half a billion taxpayer dollars at it, and local councils are pouring in millions of dollars of ratepayers’ money.  It’s a case of public money being used to help a select few and boost big industrial dairy, with ordinary New Zealanders and the environment paying the price.

To protect our rivers and reputation and create sustainable livelihoods for farmers and their families, we need to say no to industrial scale irrigation schemes, propped up with public money. 

TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition to stop Government funded river pollution