The Government has taken on board dairy sector feedback in its revised Essential Freshwater package but issues remain, says DairyNZ.
F&GNZ says DairyNZ has “selective memory” in support of polluters and ignores that improving sustainability practices often does not result in a loss of profits for farmers.
Chief executive Martin Taylor says DairyNZ has attempted to dismiss an economic report showing dairy's role in the New Zealand economy is 3% of GDP.
"If DairyNZ wishes to reject a report from the same independent economic consultancy that the dairy sector has previously used to highlight the sector's credibility, that's for them to explain."
"What I will say is that the real backbone of the economy is the environment. New Zealand's economy has been built on the back of the environment, and continued economic prosperity depends on long-term environmental sustainability. Future generations need to continue to be able to benefit from these natural advantages."
F&GNZ says that when DairyNZ CEO Tim Mackle drew attention to the Local Government New Zealand report, he did not include that the report assumed that leaching reductions equated to profit loss. F&GNZ says this is not backed up by on-farm experience.
"Many good farmers have been getting on and improving their practices and have had no loss of profit for doing the right thing.
"It's time Dr Mackle listens to his DairyNZ Chair Jim van der Poel, whom last week said farmers 'don't want to be on the wrong side of history' and that "throwing stones, slamming our fists and stamping our feet may gain some temporary satisfaction. But in our experience, it's ineffective."
F&GNZ says that Dr Mackle should follow the advice of his fellow sector leader group Federated Farmers, whose Senior Policy Advisor Darryl Sycamore said on June 10 that "we need to improve water quality now. It is clearly degraded in some locations."
"DairyNZ have rejected the NZIER report despite supporting previous NZIER reports such as the 2017 NZIER report commissioned by the dairy sector on dairy trade's economic contribution to New Zealand.
"It's time DairyNZ moved to support Government policies for cleaning up our waterways instead of denying the facts and delaying change."