[22 August/Hawkes Bay Today]

A unique collaboration of pastoral sector leaders came together in the Hawkes Bay to make a commitment to work together towards making New Zealand’s rivers swimmable for future generations. The Farming Leaders Group which includes Federated Farmers, DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ is said to represent 80% of the country’s pastoral land, has said that more needs to be done and faster in relation to fresh water. Federated Farmers President, Katie Milne, said that many of the country’s rivers were not in the condition that everyone wants them to be and that the industry has not always got the issue right around water. The Group was committed to playing its part and doing the right things on the journey towards better water. Bruce Wills, chair or Apiculture NZ and on the Boards of a range of primary sector entities, said scientific advances were enabling changes that would not have been foreseen in the last couple of generations, making environmental gains and economic sustainability possible. James Parsons, Chair of Beef + Lamb NZ, said that the challenges around water quality are global and there is the opportunity for New Zealand to lead the world and share innovation. Other leaders included Michael Spaans (Chair of DairyNZ), John Loughlin (Chair of Meat Industry Association), Mike Petersen (MFAT’s Agricultural Trade Envoy) and John Wilson (Fonterra Chair).