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Tuesday, January 19

Make the right call, Nick - call it in

The Green Party is calling on Environment Minister Nick Smith to make the right call and call in resource consent applications for factory dairy farms in the Mackenzie Country.

Cabinet is due to consider the factory farming issue when it meets for the first time after the holidays tomorrow.

“Thousands of New Zealanders – including the Prime Minister John Key – have voiced their concerns about these proposals, which would see 18,000 cows housed in cubicles 24 hours a day for eight months of the year,” Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman said.

“The message is clear: we don’t want factory farming of cows in New Zealand,” Dr Norman said.

“Nick Smith has the power to call in resource consent applications for issues of national significance, where there is widespread public concern.

“Factory dairy farming in the Mackenzie Country would hurt our animals, biodiversity, water quality, and international reputation. This is an issue of national significance, and there is widespread public concern. Nick Smith needs to make the right call, and call them in,” Dr Norman said.

If the applications are called in Environment Canterbury would no longer have to decide the fate of the proposals. Instead, they would be referred to an independent board of enquiry or to the Environment Court, better able to consider the full impact of these proposals.

“The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has echoed Green Party calls for the Minister to call in these consents,” Dr Norman said.

“The Environmental Defence Society has also suggested that three sets of land use consents that have already been granted for the farms by the Waitaki District Council were unlawful because they were not publicly notified.

“The Minister needs to take this claim seriously too, and consider High Court action.”

Dr Norman said concerned members of the public should add their voice by sending an e-card to Nick Smith asking him to make the right call – for all New Zealanders.

To send an e-card to Nick Smith: