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Nearly all dairy farm waterways fenced off

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/05/2017

Dairy farm in New Zealand © Getty images Dairy farm in New Zealand Dairy farmers have fenced off over 97 per cent of their waterways and nearly 100 per cent of stock crossing points now have bridges or culverts to protect water supplies, a new report says.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says stock is excluded from 26,197km of waterways - the distance from Auckland to Chicago and back.

The report is the latest update on the voluntary Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord project, now in its third year.

"Dairy farmers deserve credit for the leadership they have shown in recent years," Mr Guy said on Monday.

"There has been a major reduction in pollution entering our lakes and rivers from dairy sheds, factories and town effluent systems."

The accord was launched in 2013, setting out the dairy industry's commitment to improving water quality.

The Green Party welcomed the report, saying farmers had made good progress.

"Fencing dairy stock from waterways and bridging stock crossing points is the new normal," said primary industries spokeswoman Eugenie Sage.

"Hard work by dairy farmers has lifted the bar in terms of what business as usual looks like on farms."

However, Ms Sage said more needed to be done to clean up lakes and rivers.

"The Green Party in government will require all stock to be fenced out of waterways, not just dairy cattle, wind up government subsidies for large-scale irrigation schemes and put a moratorium on new dairy farms."

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