Home' Northern Outlook : June 15th 2013 Contents 4 June, 2013
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Chicken Coop • Horse Shelter
Milk claims 'thin as a Paris model'
THE GREEN Party is calling on Fonterra to sus-
pend taking milk from land where oil and fracking
waste, including highly toxic chemicals, has been
spread and covered.
The call comes after revelations on Campbell
Live that Fonterra takes milk from up to 12
landfarms and many other sites in Taranaki,
where oil and gas industry waste, including frack-
ing waste, is spread and covered.
Consumers will be concerned to know that milk
from cows grazed on land spread with oil industry
and fracking waste is in our milk supply,'' Green
Party co-leader Dr Russel Norman said.
People don't want to drink milk from cows
grazed on pasture with petroleum industry waste
beneath it. The DCD scare showed us that our
consumers want a clean product.
Fonterra says they rely on the regional council
consenting process to ensure safety, but they have
not unequivocally said that there are no issues
with this milk from farms with fracking waste on
them. The public deserve to know what testing has
been done on milk from these farms and what the
Consumers can get dirty milk from any number
of countries. Our brand advantage is that our milk
is clean and green. We need to take all steps to
ensure our milk stays that way.
This issue highlights how the Government's
petroleum development plans are creating a repu-
tation risk for the dairy industry. Widespread
growth of oil and gas is a threat to our reputation
as a producer of safe, clean food.
However, Harvey Leach, the provincial presi-
dent of Federated Farmers Taranaki, says the
Greens' claims are 100 per cent poppycock and
straight out of the conspiracy theorists playbook''.
This divides things into everyone even
remotely involved or qualified vs. me'. In our case,
those remotely involved or qualified were
landowners, Fonterra, the Taranaki Regional
Council, petroleum companies and the Petroleum
Exploration and Production Association. The me'
in this story was the Green Party of Dr Russel
Norman,'' he said.
When you deal with the broadcast media, as I
must occasionally do, you are often asked for facts
and reports, evidence, to back up what you are
saying. That same standard doesn't seem to apply
to those taking pot shots at those involved or
qualified' on an issue. More's the pity. The claims
about dairy farming on landfarms in Taranaki are
so thin they could be a model in Paris.
Now I will give the Green's Dr Norman the
benefit of the doubt here and assume he has never
handled a post-hole borer. Those who do know
that even a two-metre hole can kick up an
impressive amount of mud, rocks and clay. In
town, the usual thing for most people is to put it
into either a skip or a trailer and take it to a
If you are running a petroleum company then
you may be drilling for thousands of metres, gen-
erating a mountain of rock and clay. If you happen
to be a farmer with less-than-even pasture, the
cliche One man's trash is another's treasure' very
much applies. The drillers can recycle their spoil
to reclaim pasture, known as land farming.
As the regional council's Gary Bedford told the
Taranaki Daily News, landfarms are quarantined
and then undergo extensive testing before cattle
are put back on them to graze for milking. Cattle
are never grazed on a landfarm that is still in
He says he knows that cattle are incredibly sen-
sitive to contaminants, yet the ones he has seen on
landfarms appear to be thriving.
But to a conspiracist, councils are in the pocket
of big oil'. Given New Plymouth District Council
has just suspended Tag Oil's Sidewinder field for
noise pollution and Taranaki Regional Council has
issued abatement notices and started prosecution
against an exploration company, that view of big
oil' influence looks shaky.
And while Taranaki Regional Council is incred-
ibly rigorous in its testing, Fonterra further tests
milk for contaminants when it collects it. This is to
ensure integrity of the entire milk supply chain
before you, I, or any of our customers consume it.
Let me be clear because the science is crystal clear
-- there is no issue,'' Mr Leach said.
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