Published 30 July 2010
The Environmental Defence Society said yesterday it had won a High Court case challenging cubicle dairy farming in the Mackenzie Basin.
Society chairman Gary Taylor said the court had quashed resource consents & certificates of compliance issued by Waitaki District Council for 3 large cubicle farming operations on 8555ha in the Mackenzie Country.
"Our High Court challenge related to land use consents. Previously, effluent discharge consent applications that had been called in by the Minister for the Environment were withdrawn by the applicants.”
The applications were made by Killermont Run Ltd (Daniel, Jane & Michael Thomas, Omarama), Southdown Holdings Ltd (Christopher Flavell, Sydney; Richard Peacocke, Mt Maunganui; & Graeme Wilson, Pukekohe) & Five Rivers Ltd (Cornelius Zeestraten, Amberley). The consents involved housing 17,850 dairy cows in large sheds around the clock from March-October and for 12 hours/day for the rest of the year. Up to 1.1 million litres of effluent could be discharged to pasture daily. The cows would be kept in stalls, fed in the sheds and milked robotically.
Mr Taylor said after the decision: "Our concerns were primarily at the effects of the proposal on the fragile & unique tussock grasslands & landscapes of the Mackenzie Country. We do not believe that the future of this iconic part of New Zealand should be decided by individual resource consent applications.
"Clearly there has been a failure of public policy at all levels. The Government has failed to provide national guidance, the regional council has failed to identify nationally important landscapes, and the 2 district councils have failed to develop coherent & effective district plans.
"There is now a real window of opportunity to prepare a long-term strategic plan for the area. In our view, that should be led by the local community but both Environment Canterbury & the Ministry for the Environment should be involved. It needs to look at the landscape, natural values and social & economic development options for the Mackenzie Country over the next 25 or more years.
"The Environmental Defence Society remains willing to work with the authorities to secure an agreed way forward for the Mackenzie Country. However, if decisions impacting on it continue to be made in an ad hoc way, then we will continue to be vigilant."
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Attribution: Society release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.