Greenpeace Response to MPI’s Multi-Million Dollar Hand-Out for Irrigation Scheme

Press release - May 18, 2016
Responding to news today that the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will hand over millions of dollars to a controversial Canterbury industrial irrigation scheme, Genevieve Toop, Greenpeace’s agriculture campaigner, said:

“The government is throwing away millions of dollars on this controversial industrial irrigation scheme which will pollute our precious rivers.

“Millions of tonnes of pollution ends up in our rivers already. And this will only get worse if government departments like MPI throw taxpayers’ money at irrigation schemes like Central Plains Water that expand the industrial dairy sector.

Ecological farming is much better for our rivers, our land and our international reputation. It’s this that the government should be backing, not some failed industrial agriculture model which is polluting our rivers.”

Almost 30,000 people have signed a Greenpeace petition calling on the government to stop funding industrial scale irrigation.

Critics of these schemes say that large-scale irrigation projects lead to industrial dairy expansion, which leads to increased river pollution.

Two weeks ago, Greenpeace used six tonnes of dairy sewage to blockade another government department, ACC, in an escalating row over the government’s funding of irrigation schemes.

Earlier this month, Greenpeace took out a full-page advert in The Press newspaper targeting Central Plains Water, and calling for the scheme to be dropped.