We believe it would be better to have a cycle way in the Mackenzie Country rather than more cows. We urge you to speak out and help prevent an environmental disaster in one of the most environmentally fragile and spectacular places in New Zealand. We believe the Mackenzie basin is more valuable to the nation as tourist destination rather than for the expansion of industrial scale dairy farming.
Applications have been lodged with the Canterbury Regional Council to take 164 million cubic metres of water from high country rivers and lakes to irrigate 27,000 hectares of public and private land in the Mackenzie Basin. Before the Canterbury Regional Council are 61 consent applications to take, use, divert and dam water and 51 associated discharge and land use consent applications in the Upper Waitaki Catchment.
Irrigating this dryland will destroy the grand entrance to the multi billion-dollar tourist industry. This scenery is the major drawcard for the international visitor.The proposal puts at risk the extensive wetlands and the natural habitats and flows of numerous high country rivers. Over 56 species of threatened plants and 40 species of birds rely on this naturally dry habitat. Our recreational anglers and the globally endangered black stilt (kaki), the black-fronted tern (tara piroe), wrybill (ngutuparore), and the black-billed gull (tarapunga) all face an uncertain future if the proposed water extraction proceeds.
It takes 1000 litres of water to make one litre of milk and in the process algae blooms caused by farm nutrient runoff will affect long-term lakes Tekapo, Pukaki, Ohau and Benmore. (Look what has happened to the North Island lakes). As yet we do not factor into the water allocation process the user paying for environmental damage.
Today in a world facing climate change our “water footprint’ is as pressing as carbon dioxide emissions. We need to be practising sustainable farming and not destroying a landscape that is our treasure. Do not turn the Mackenzie Basin green. Let us put in a cycle way from Geraldine to Mount Aoraki. Please help save the Mackenzie Country.