Greenpeace is calling on the Government to end public subsidies to think-big irrigation schemes that will create new intensive dairy farms and more freshwater pollution.

Today, Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, announced that another nearly 90 million taxpayers dollars will be put towards building irrigation schemes.  The Government has set aside $480 million through Crown Irrigation investments and the Irrigation Acceleration fund.

Greenpeace campaigner, Genevieve Toop, says this extra money  is just another example of the Government’s “total absence of a backbone”.

“This Government seems completely unable to stand up against big dairy and actually look after ordinary New Zealanders and the rivers we love and depend on,” she says.

“Our waterways are already not able to cope with the sheer number of dairy cows in New Zealand.  We urgently need to reduce the national herd number and stop big irrigation schemes, like the Ruataniwha Dam.

“It’s sickening that amidst a freshwater crisis, our own Government is using public money to help the intensive dairy industry expand despite the devastation it will cause to our rivers and our way of life.””

Greenpeace is calling on existing dairy farmers to speak out against big irrigation.

“Big irrigation is bad for existing dairy farmers who are legitimately trying to clean up their farms.  All their good work to reduce pollution will  be cancelled out by additional pollution from new intensive dairy conversions that will be created under these irrigation schemes,” Toop says.

Nearly 70,000 people have signed apetitiondemanding an end to Government subsidies  for big irrigation.