“It’s incredibly disappointing to see our national museum Te Papa reinforcing an overly simplistic anti-farming narrative that negatively impacts the public’s perception of New Zealand farmers and the dairy sector” DairyNZ Chief Executive Dr Tim Mackle says.
“The water in their display is not reflective of what your average farm stream in NZ would look like. If you don’t believe me, you just need to look at the countless videos and pictures farmers have posted to social media to correct the perception.
“Farmers were right in demanding to know when and where this water was taken from. Te Papa have since confessed that the water wasn’t actually from a farm at all but was made up in a back room using brown dye.
“It’s not just about the quality of the water in the bottle either” Dr Mackle added.
“The imagery on the bottle of a cow standing in water defecating is highly deceptive and entirely out of step with the reality of dairy farming in New Zealand today where we are proud to have fenced off 98.3% of waterways in recent years.
“Farmers who have done the right thing and voluntarily invested their time and their money to fence off waterways and plant riparian strips deserve better than this from their national museum.
“Dairy farmers have fenced over 24,744km of waterways.
Under the Sustainable Dairy Water Accord New Zealand dairy farmers have achieved some fantastic results: 98.3% of waterways have been fenced on dairy farms to keep cattle out, 100% of stock crossing points have bridges and culverts and 100% of farms have been assessed for effluent management practices.
“The situation is all the more disappointing because it was only last week that we hosted our 7th annual Dairy Environment Leaders Forum dinner at Te Papa to celebrate the great work dairy farmers have undertaken.
“We think it’s great that Te Papa have produced a display on NZ’s water quality to help educate young kiwis, but it’s a real shame they haven’t taken the opportunity to tell the full story. DairyNZ would be happy to work with them on a fair and accurate display in the future.
“As a popular tourist attraction that is frequented by thousands of young families and international tourists each year Te Papa should be enhancing the brand of NZ Inc. instead of detracting from it with false information” Dr Mackle concluded.