The land in question is located very close (approximately 1 km at its eastern boundary) to Curio Bay in the New Zealand Catlins, on the South Island’s southeast coast.
Until now a beef and sheep farm, it was recently bought by investors for conversion to a 400 cow dairy operation.
Opposition to this project materialized during the resource consent process required for this type of land use.
As the directly affected parties (e.g. neighbours) did not give their consent, the application is now in its public phase with a deadline for submissions on 9 February 2009 (cf. link below to resource consent downloadable forms).
The opponents believe that intensive dairying will have a greater detrimental impact on the environment than the traditional farming practices. The effluents from intensive dairy operations can be harmful to waterways and this project’s opponents fear that this will be the case in their area, as water quality in several areas of Southland is already poor (cf. images).
New Zealand has probably developed more stringent rules than most countries for the mitigation of dairying operations’ environmental impacts. But the recent increase in the prices of dairy products globally, along with other food products, has resulted in a shift from traditional beef and sheep farming and more land being converted to dairying, particularly in Southland. Opponents fear that this project could be the first of a series of land purchases and dairy conversions in their area, which would further compound the environmental impact.
To the potential economic benefits of increasing dairy production, the project’s detractors oppose the value of their local environment. The Catlins Coast is highly scenic and free from major developments, thus retaining a natural feel and a rich fauna including many species of marine mammals, penguins and seabirds.
The extension of intensive dairy operations close to the coast is seen as creating an unacceptable level of threat to the quality of this environment, to the wildlife (some rare or endangered) and their habitats, and to the experience offered to its many visitors, both from New Zealand and overseas.
Additional resource: the opponent's group on Facebook (STOP DAIRY FARMING @ CURIO BAY, NZ!!!!).
Links to external websites:
[wb1]Catlins Surf - Click to view the "Help our Curio Bay" page.
[wb2]The Catlins - Official website of Southland Tourism