"The Environment Court has approved a large-scale dairy farm in the Upper Waitaki, rejecting a warning from regional councillors that the development would be too big for the area.
But the decision has already been criticised by the Aoraki Conservation Board and the Green Party because of the farm's impact on the environment.
The court has granted Little Ben Dairy effluent and land use consents to farm more than 1400 cows for 25 years, 6km from Lake Benmore, just north of Omarama.
Environment Court judge John Jackson said a decision was reached after mediation between ECan staff, Little Ben and the Department of Conservation.
DOC Twizel manager Rob Young said the department agreed to the consent after it was assured the owners would erect stock-proof fences 20m from the Ben Omar Swamp reserve, and there were appropriate penalties if nitrate levels were exceeded.This is just crazy - the figures put out recently show that a high percentage of dairy farms do not currently comply with the clean streams accord. These farmers cannot do the right thing now - why do you think they will change and do the right thing into the future - they won't.
"ECan wetland ecologist Mark Davis said the Ben Omar Swamp was "one of the most important remaining wetlands in the Waitaki and Mackenzie basins". The consent conditions require that the discharge area be 165 metres from the swamp.
At last year's hearings, the ECan panel said there was insufficient information about possible cumulative effects because dairying was new in the area.This wetland will be diminished, it will be compromised and it will be abused. And of course there is insufficient information - you aren't supposed to grow cows in that area - but when the cows do come in big numbers - there presence will certainly be felt.
"Little Ben is a subdivision of Buscott Station. Its directors are Mervyn McCabe and Richard Gloag.
The farm is near Ben Omar swamp, part of which was on conservation land.
The company initially applied for a 35-year consent to farm 1400 cows.
ECan was willing to approve a 750-cow operation for 10 years.
Little Ben went to the Environment Court, which has agreed to let the company farm 1400 cows for 25 years.
Up to 7560 litres of raw effluent a day would be produced by the proposed farm. It would be stored in two ponds and spread over 120 hectares on the farm.As Idiot/Savant says
"The government should not be allowing this. We should keep the MacKenzie brown, for the benefit and enjoyment of all New Zealanders, not turn it into another cow paddock for the benefit of the few."I agree with that view entirely.