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Source: Greenpeace New Zealand

Greenpeace is furious at a council decision to let the controversial mega dairy farm in the Mackenzie turn on it’s irrigators before all the conditions of the resource consent are met.

ECan, Canterbury’s Regional Council has green lit the latest plans of rich-lister Murray Valentine.

He is trying to convert iconic wilderness near the foot of Aoraki Mount Cook into a huge dairy development.

Greenpeace campaigner Gen Toop says she’s “absolutely livid that ECan is allowing the country’s largest mega-dairy farm conversion to completely break the rules.”

“What’s the point in having rules in place to protect wildlife and rivers when big dairy is allowed to just break them like this.”

One of the conditions of the irrigation consent is a baseline ecological survey. ECan issued a statement indicating that irrigation will begin even though Valentine still has not met this condition.

The environmental organisation is calling on ECan to refuse to let the irrigators be turned on until the consent conditions have been met.

“ECan’s job is to protect the environment but they are doing the exact opposite. They are bending the rules so that dairy corporates can make money at the cost of fragile landscapes, endangered wildlife and our rivers” says Toop

“This latest decision sets a really dangerous precedent. The environmental regulator is publicly and proudly letting the dairy industry run rampant.”

Toop says this is a symptom of the lack of democracy in the region and a failure of Central Government to set strong legislation to reign in the dairy industry.

In 2010 the National Government sacked the 14 legally elected ECan councillors and replaced them with state appointed representatives.

“For the last eight years, without the consent of the people of Canterbury, ECan has relentlessly served the interests of the irrigation and dairy industries over the interests of the environment.”

Greenpeace is calling for a nationwide ban on all new dairy farms.