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Greenpeace is welcoming the Government’s fresh water work plan as a good step towards clean rivers but criticises it’s lack of immediate action to stop increases in cow numbers and pollution.

“The plan is good news for our rivers in the long-term but it is completely missing interim measures to stop further pollution.” says Greenpeace freshwater campaigner Gen Toop.

“There are already too many cows for our waterways to cope with. Yet there are new dairy farms being built and existing farms are still adding more cows.”

“The Government needs to ban new dairy farms and end any further livestock intensification immediately.”

12 people were recently arrested in the Mackenzie Basin for protesting the construction of a new mega dairy farm, which plans to put 15,000 cows on fragile land just south of Lake Pūkaki.

The conversion is expected to leach tens of thousands of kilo’s of nitrate pollution into the vulnerable glacial rivers and lakes in the catchment.

Plans for more Irrigation and intensification of dairying also threaten to pollute, and potentially irreparably damage Te Waikoropupū springs, among the clearest waters in the world.

“Some of our most precious and fragile catchments, like the Mackenzie Basin and Te Waikoropupū springs, are in imminent danger of more pollution from more cows.”

The plan states that there will be “targeted action and investment in at-risk catchments, from now”. However, it is unspecific about what that action will look like.

“70% or our rivers are too polluted to swim in, three quarters of our native freshwater fish are threatened with extinction, and nearly half of our lakes are eutrophic. This is an environmental crisis which demands urgent action, and that’s what this plan lacks.”

“We cannot wait months let alone years to save our rivers and protect these precious places. We need an immediate ban on dairy expansion,” says Toop.

The Greenpeace petition calling for a ban on new dairy farms and an end to further intensification of livestock farming has over 47,000 signatures and continues to rise.