DairyNZ General Manager of Policy and Advocacy, Kimberly Crewther, says a scientifically robust, nationally consistent water quality framework is critical to help all New Zealanders understand the country's freshwater management challenges and what is needed to address them.
"We support the National Objectives Framework as a means to provide increased transparency and community participation in freshwater management," she says.
"In some areas, we believe the proposed National Objectives Framework could be more robust. For example, including invertebrates such as aquatic insects would give us a direct measure of ecosystem health that can be applied in all waterways."
She says that the inclusion of secondary contact recreation like wading or kayaking as a bottom line is a good idea, but DairyNZ has suggested a tighter compliance test to ensure that human health is protected.
Ms Crewther says DairyNZ has made all these points in its submission on the Government's proposed National Objectives Framework (NOF) and amendments to the National Policy Statement (NPS) for Freshwater Management (2011). Public submissions on the proposals closed last month.
Government officials are now analysing all submissions. The Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Primary Industries expect to take advice to Cabinet by the middle of the year.
Ms Crewther says the Government needs to ensure that exceptions to national bottom lines are minimised.
"Dairy farming is one of many activities that impact on water quality, alongside other land uses and urban waste. We need to ensure that all activities play their part."
Kimberly Crewther says dairy farmers want to see water bodies meeting community objectives for current and future generations, as much as anyone else in the country.
"We farm and live next to many waterways and have families that swim, fish and play in our natural environment just like everyone else in our communities.
"We also depend on water for the sustainability of our businesses.
"So we are united with everyone else on the need to set and achieve clear freshwater objectives based on robust science.
"What we want to focus on is ensuring the framework being put in place by the Government is helping communities work out the best way of getting there and finding the right measures to monitor our progress and set targets that can suit different situations," she says.
DairyNZ Corporate Communications Manager
Tel: 027 703 0211