Dairy industry backs call to rethink environmental research funding

 The dairy industry says it wants to be "part of the solution"
The dairy industry says it wants to be "part of the solution" Photo credit: Getty

The Dairy industry is backing calls to rethink how environmental research is funded in New Zealand.

In a report released on Wednesday Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton highlighted a disconnect between the information the Government says is important and the environmental research it actually funds.

He said the way public funds are invested is "fragmented" and makes it "hard to respond to long-term environmental problems such as climate change, freshwater quality and biodiversity loss".

He recommended Government funding be distributed to a new independent environmental research council, which would then allocate money accordingly.

DairyNZ on Thursday said it agreed with Upton that a rethink into environmental funding is needed and urged the Government to accept the report's recommendations. 

"As a country, we face some significant challenges to reduce our environmental footprint, reduce emissions and improve water quality. To be successful we will need substantial, long-term research investment based on a shared strategy," said Dr Tim Mackle, DairyNZ chief executive.

"The current research system is not having the impact it could. It's costly, cumbersome and doesn't always direct funding to the areas that will really make a difference on the ground. Misplaced incentives around certain priorities can result in piecemeal projects at the expense of long-term vision and coordinated effort."

Dr Mackle said dairy wanted to be "part of the solution" and wanted to see the Government continue to invest in the dairy sector and other primary industries to foster innovations and find solutions to environmental issues.