Middle Earth at Risk from Dairy Expansion
New Zealand’s beautiful and iconic Mackenzie country – famous as the location of Gondor in the Lord of the Rings films – is under threat from intensive dairy farming.
A wealthy corporate accountant plans to take pristine waters from Pūkaki and Tekapo to develop a new dairy farm with 15,000 cows, dumping polluted water back into local rivers.
The operation is expected to leach tens of thousands of kilograms of nitrate pollution into the Mackenzie’s vulnerable lakes and rivers. It would also damage a crucial habitat for the native kakī / black stilt, the world’s rarest wading bird with only 100 left in existence.
It’s outrageous but, unfortunately, it’s all legal. And it’s a shameful example of how the rules to protect New Zealand’s rivers and precious ecosystems from industrial dairying are failing.
Tens of thousands of New Zealanders have already signed a petition calling for the Government to save the Mackenzie by stopping further dairy expansion.
Now 45 activists have braved freezing temperatures to stop the project in its tracks. Some locked themselves onto diggers and other machinery, disrupting construction on a huge irrigation pipeline for the new dairy farm. Others unfurled a giant banner on the banks of Lake Pūkaki with the words “Stop Dairy Expansion”.
The message was for Environment Minister David Parker, who is re-writing the regulations around freshwater and agricultural pollution this year. Greenpeace is part of an alliance of organisations calling for those rules to prohibit the expansion of the dairy industry, in order to save precious places like the Mackenzie.
New Zealand already has too many cows. To take the strain off our rivers and our climate we need to stop putting more cows on the land and actually reduce the number altogether. Greenpeace believes the way forward is through ‘Ecological Farming’ – working with the environment rather than against it.