Source: Greenpeace New Zealand
Dozens of environmental activists have braved freezing temperatures this morning to protest at the site of a proposed mega dairy farm in the Mackenzie / Te Manahuna.
Protestors have locked themselves onto diggers and other machinery, disrupting construction on a huge irrigation pipeline for the new dairy farm.
The Greenpeace protest began before sun up near Aoraki, Mount Cook.
“Our message is clear,” says Greenpeace Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner Gen Toop. “For the sake of the Mackenzie and our rivers, industrial dairy expansion has to stop.”
Businessman and developer Murray Valentine has permission to create a dairy farm on the southern shores of Lake Pūkaki with up to 15,000 cows under giant pivot irrigators.
“The dairy industry has polluted our rivers and our climate for too long. This latest incursion into the iconic Mackenzie Country shows just how extreme this industry has become.”
The proposed farm is a crucial habitat for the native kakī / black stilt, the world’s rarest wading bird with only 100 left in existence.
“The Mackenzie is a fragile wilderness, home to critically endangered native species, world renowned landscapes and bright blue glacial lakes. It’s simply not suitable for dairy farming.”
The Mackenzie is a naturally dry and arid region. It’s soils are characterised as well-drained, or “leaky”, which means agricultural pollution easily leaches into waterways.
The proposed new dairy farm has almost all the consents and permissions it needs to go ahead.
“This new mega farm is a shameful example of how the rules to protect our rivers and our environment from industrial dairying are failing.”
“Murray Valentine’s operation is expected to leach tens of thousands of kilograms of nitrate pollution into the Mackenzie’s vulnerable lakes and rivers.”
The Government is re-writing the regulations around freshwater and agricultural pollution. That’s due to be released later this year.
“If Big Dairy can put a massive farm in the Mackenzie, they can put one anywhere in our country.”
‘’The Government can protect the Mackenzie and our rivers by banning new dairy conversions,” says Toop.
Nearly 30,000 people have signed the new Greenpeace petition to ban new dairy conversions across New Zealand.
Greenpeace believes the way forward for farming is through ‘Regenerative Farming’ – working with the environment rather than against it.
“To take the strain off our rivers and our climate we need to have fewer cows and producing higher value dairy products.”