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Scientists snub freshwater quality standard decision

A freshwater scientist says the government decision on measuring water quality has more to do with protecting the dairy industry than good science.

Scientists argue the best measure of water quality is to look at the impact on species living in the water - known as the macro-invertebrate community index  or MCI.

The Ministry for the Environment says too many different environmental factors affect whether animals can live in streams making it difficult for councils to improve a bad MCI score.

But Massey University’s Mike Joy, says the reason for the Ministry for the Environment not using MCI is because it would hurt dairy production.
He says with doubling agricultural production in the next 25 years at the top of Government’s agenda, getting real results on pollution would work against intensification.
He said a report written for the ministry shows many rivers in dairy farming regions would fail to meet a limit based on the index.

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At least 30 Northland farmers facing financial ruin

At least 30 farmers in mid-Northland are facing financial ruin in the wake of this year's extreme weather events and falling income, while farmers groups warn banks may be forced to write off millions in bad loans.

The Northland president of Farmers of New Zealand, Ian Walker, says his organisation has been working with between 30 and 40 farmers in the Dargaville and Whangarei area who cannot afford to stay on their farms.

Ian Walker says banks are partly to blame for over-enthusiastic lending on the back of the dairy boom times and artificially inflated land prices.

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Protesters expected over Southland 1080 drop

Protesters are expected at a 1080 drop at Piano Flat in northern Southland early next week as the Department of Conservation began its "Battle for the Birds" campaign.

Four helicopters dropped pre-bait into the 10,500-hectare Waikaia Forest this week, to give rats, stoats and possums a taste of the six-gram bait.

The poisoned bait will be dropped with 1080 poison early next week.

DOC science adviser Dr James Reardon said a minimum of five days were needed between the pre-bait drop and the 1080 drop.

Despite opposition to the 1080 drop from Piano Flat crib owners, DOC said the poison drop was necessary to control an increase in rat numbers in the forest which ate the eggs of native birds.

The rat population explosion was because of an abundance of food in the beech forest which flowered and dropped seeds during winter.

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Environment Minister rejects call fro Hawke's Bay GM Free status

Environment Minister Amy Adams has told Hawke's Bay growers they already have the ability to market their produce as free of genetically modified organisms.
However, she doesn't support a law change to make the region an official GM-free zone.

Local growers lobby group Pure Hawke's Bay challenged Ms Adams on the issue when she visited the region yesterday.

They took the opportunity to question her at a public meeting in Clive after placing a full-page advertisement in yesterday's Hawke's Bay Today.

The ad, in the form of an open letter to the minister, said being able to market the $1 billion of annual produce as GM-free was an "essential component of our competitive advantage".

Ms Adams said she did not support the idea of enabling regional councils to set specific GM rules for their areas because that was a function best kept with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and standardised across the country.

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Survey shows NZ Aquaculture support

Prime Minister John Key has given the strongest signal yet Government may invest tens of millions of dollars into a plan to unlock aquaculture in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
This comes after figures released by the Ministry of Primary Industries this morning showing 73% of New Zealanders believe Aquaculture is positive for the economy and 91% agree New Zealand should be looking to opportunities to sustainably grow the industry.
At the New Zealand Seafood Industry Seafood Industry Council conference John Key said the Government was looking favourably at an aquaculture plan in Opotiki.

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Govt funding for Hawke's Bay freshwater project

Environment Minister Amy Adams has announced funding of $80,000 for a Hawke’s Bay Regional Council project to develop clear criteria for assessing and identifying outstanding water bodies.

The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014 defines outstanding freshwater bodies as those identified in a regional policy statement or plan as having outstanding values – including ecological, landscape, recreational and spiritual values.

However it doesn’t provide guidance on how those values should be assessed.

Amy Adams says this project will lead to better guidance for councils with less litigation and duplication as all councils can use the same criteria and assessment methodology.

The total cost of the project is $90,000, with Hawke’s Bay Regional Council contributing the remainder of the funding.

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Gisborne A&P Show

Gisborne A&P Show

Gisborne Show Grounds  (Gisborne)

Show 2014 – the 139th – will be packed with all the attractions and entertainment for which it is renowned throughout New Zealand – all the equestrian showing, dressage, carriage (North Island championships) and jumping classes, speed shearing, shearing and wool classing, chopping, fencing, dog trialing, dancing , debating , cooking, fleeces, goats and sheep competitions, the popular Farmyard with its range of animals, reptiles and birds including poultry, the Grand Parade and entertaining main arena attractions on Saturday afternoon, and throughout the two days, 200 interesting trade exhibits and the biggest assortment of thrilling rides and sideshows from Mahons Amusements. Go to to become their “friend” and get all their latest details and special offers as they come to hand!

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