Robust science and partnerships crucial for freshwater

DairyNZ’s submission on the proposed Essential Freshwater package identifies the solutions needed to deliver lasting improvements for water quality and ecosystem health in New Zealand, while protecting our economy.  Healthy and swimmable waterways are important to all New Zealanders, including dairy farmers, who share the same aspirations to protect our rivers, lakes and wetlands.   “DairyNZ supports targeted efforts to halt further degradation of our freshwater resources, together with improved farming practices which we know will lead to meaningful outcomes,” said DairyNZ strategy and investment leader, Dr David Burger.  “Under the Essential Freshwater proposal, there are policies we do and don’t support. Those we don’t support are due to a lack of robust supporting science linking the proposed policy to water quality outcomes, and we believe there are better ways to achieve similar results.  “Our economic impact analysis indicates these policies we don’t support could have a very significant impact on New Zealand’s GDP and export income. Addressing New Zealand’s water quality challenges also requires a collaborative approach that goes beyond simply focusing on nutrients such as nitrogen.  “We are also concerned that the Essential Freshwater package is not underpinned by a comprehensive economic assessment of impacts on the dairy sector or the broader economy, given dairy makes up nearly one-third of New Zealand’s exported goods and provides 46,000 jobs.”  DairyNZ is proposing an alternative to manage ecosystem health, based on strengthening existing standards for nitrogen toxicity to further protect sensitive indigenous species.   “Our current scientific understanding and economic modelling indicates this is a more pragmatic way to achieve similar environmental outcomes at less cost to the economy and communities,” said Dr Burger.  “The Government and dairy farmers can work together to deliver lasting water quality gains at a more rapid pace, and at significantly less socio-economic cost than some of the current proposals.”  Dr Burger said their organisation’s submission spans key elements which will deliver for freshwater – in particular, ensuring changes are based on robust science and partnerships across government, industry and community, and will deliver enduring outcomes.  “We all have a shared vision. As […]