The Colmar Brunton survey showing that healthy rivers and lakes were the greatest public concern in New Zealand came as no surprise to DairyNZ.

"We believe so strongly that Kiwis care about waterways that we're starting a movement, where the vision is clear — we want all New Zealanders to do their bit to look after rivers, lakes and beaches. You can find out more at," chief executive Tim Mackle said.

The dairy industry had an important role to play, as about 15 per cent of New Zealand's streams ran through dairy farms, and dairy farmers had been doing their bit, with 97 per cent of waterways fenced off from stock, and significant work done to to establish riparian margins and wetlands.

"Farmers over the last 10 years have also been significantly investing in effluent management systems that work with the land, and DairyNZ continues to invest millions of dollars into research, science and technology that will look after our waterways," Dr Mackle said.


"Claims that intensified farming contributes to water quality declines are both accurate and misleading," he added however. The reality is that all types of land use contribute to water quality, and that farming, whether it's vegetables, fruit, beef, sheep, dairy, deer or even wine, must all work together to make sure waterways are protected.

"The most polluted rivers actually run through urban centres, and this is where the public can do their bit too.

"Farmers, industry and businesses who don't prioritise looking after waterways should be held accountable."