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Raising a stink - manure sacks dumped on doorstep

Five sacks of cattle dung dredged from the Mataura River were dumped at Environment Southland's front door on Wednesday in protest at the effects of cattle in the district's waterways.

The unpleasant delivery was accompanied by a letter from the lobby group Save our Water Otago/Southland, pushing its call for cleaner waterways.

Save our Water Otago/Southland member Matt Coffey says he collected the manure from areas of the upper Mataura River "which Environment Southland don't require to be fenced".

"Environment Southland are not doing their job so I'm doing it for them. They are responsible for the health of our rivers and streams. Clearly they are not cleaning up our rivers — so I'm delivering this crap to them."

Matt says he collected five sacks full but estimated the amount of manure now in the Mataura River would be enough to fill a house.

In 2012, Environment Southland said it would work to improve the state of Southland rivers with an expected 10% improvement by 2020, but this was not the case, he said.

"Environment Southland support and work with farmers. We want to do the right thing."

In its accompanying letter the group makes five particular demands including: enforceable prosecutions and no more stock in rivers or streams, no more draining of wetlands, active support for transitioning away from intensive to regenerative farming, and to start reducing stock numbers.

The group also opposed new dairy conversions or extensions, says Matt.

"These five demands will help slow the destruction of our rivers and streams."

Environment Southland chairman Nicol Horrell says as far as he was aware they had not received correspondence from the Save our Water group before.

"Seems to be a new group that's popped up."

Nicol says improved water quality was the council's top priority and he encouraged the group to keep an eye on progress with the Water and Land Plan.

"We're seeing an improvement... we know we've got a long way to go."

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