It could, for example, include accelerating the development of farm environment plans to reduce contaminants entering waterways, a wastewater upgrade at a Fonterra processing site, our scientists supporting ‘citizen scientists’ to monitor waterway quality, providing advice and support to catchment care groups, giving funding for restoration projects, rallying volunteers from our local factories or Farm Source teams, or sitting at the table and talking about the hard issues.
Both rural and urban catchments are included in the programme, because that is where we have been asked to help. Communities and iwi have given us strong direction and said we should focus on restoring water quality for recreation and ecosystem health for our native fish and wildlife, enhancing wetlands, accelerating riparian planting, and restoring mahinga kai and culturally significant areas. These things will be part of agreed local action plans.
The programme is a new way of working for Fonterra, it’s about having a restorative mindset for New Zealand. We are all excited about supporting community action in these 50 catchments and getting behind New Zealand’s grass-roots restoration movement.
We know this restoration effort is only part of tackling the problem, and it may take longer than some of us would like, but we’re committed to playing our part to make things right, and are looking forward to working with others on the challenge.
Trish Kirkland-Smith is Fonterra’s General Manager, Environment.