Friday, September 11, 2009


The Mackenzie country is one of the driest parts of New Zealand. When I've visited there its generally been a brown wasteland populated by rabbits and the occasional sheep. So naturally, its the perfect place for industrial dairying:

Dairying in the upper Waitaki basin is set for a massive boost, with the possibility of 22,530 more cows on up to 19 dairy farms between Lake Ohau and Omarama.

Six consent applications have been filed with Environment Canterbury (ECan) for dairy effluent discharges, including two for big developments each with 7000 cows.

Three of the applications are for 16 stand-alone dairy farms with a total of 17,850 cows.

I don't think you can get any better example of the greed and unsustainability of our dairy industry than this. The lack of water means that this is not a good place to keep cows. But that means that land is cheap, and the prospect of high dairy prices in the future means farmers will try and stick a cow anywhere to get some "white gold". In the process, they will fundamentally change one of our most striking natural landscapes, compete with electricity generators for water, and pollute some of our most pristine waterways. They've ruined much of the North Island with their polluting industry; now they want to start on the South as well.