Media Release: EDS Welcomes Mackenzie Country Report but calls for urgent action

EDS says that the Mackenzie Basin Agency Alignment Report, released yesterday, is an important step forward in the fight to save the Mackenzie Country from large-scale dairy intensification.

“The review, which looked at how the government agencies involved in the Basin could work together to achieve better environmental outcomes, makes some very useful recommendations,” said EDS CEO Gary Taylor.

Land Information NZ, Environment Canterbury, Mackenzie and Waitaki District Councils and the Department of Conservation commissioned the report after urging from EDS. It was prepared by independent consultants John Hutchings and Hugh Logan.

“There’s a clear need for more joined-up oversight and management of the area which is under intensive development pressures that are systematically destroying nationally significant ecological and landscape values.

“The report indicates the desirability of creating a Mackenzie Drylands Natural Heritage Area which is a great idea that had its genesis in the earlier Mackenzie Forum. We agree with that vision. But the problem is that the window of opportunity is fast closing.

“The pace and scale of change is truly alarming and will require the agencies to not only work better to do so but to do it on what could be called a war footing, the situation is that dire and urgent.

“An example is one landowner who is proposing to convert over 5000 hectares of Simons Pass Station to intensive dairying. This will include up to 15,000 cows and 24 large pivot irrigators and will destroy native plants, animals, birds and outstanding landscape.

“The Basin is at a tipping point and needs urgent and co-ordinated intervention to save this nationally important area from the dairy juggernaut. This will require a big change from business as usual and will require the agencies to work together towards the agreed goal,” Mr Taylor concluded.

Read the report.

Download full statement (pdf)

Last updated at 9:28AM on February 21, 2018