Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park say excessive agri-chemical use by the farmer in Queen Elizabeth Park should not be allowed on public land.
And they say there is widespread alarm in the local areas of Raumati South and Paekakariki.
The farming licence should not be renewed in 2020, Friends of the Park trustees say.
Trustees say they’ve just learned of extensive spraying on park farmland, visible from State Highway 1.
The farm licence-holder, Wairarapa-based Beetham Pastural Ltd, is not required to notify the public of imminent spraying and it is the third such event since Beetham took over the licence in 2015.
‘Farming conflicts with Act’
Friends chair Russell Bell says Friends trustees decided at a meeting this week to ask the park managers on Greater Wellington Regional Council not to renew Beetham’s five-year licence for another five years because the farming method conflicts with the Reserves Act.
“Flora and fauna is an important aspect of a recreation reserve such as QEP and farming must not lead to the degradation of flora and fauna, nor the degradation of water quality,” Mr Bell says.
“Independent and GWRC surveys of water quality indicate that it is declining year on year and that is because of what is happening in the farm paddocks.”
‘46,000 litres of toxic spray’
Friends trustee Peter Brooking invoked the Official Information Act to reveal that Beetham Pastural in their first year of operation used more than 46 thousand litres of toxic sprays over 59 hectares of park farmland.
“It was a recipe of herbicides and insecticide that annihilated all green foliage and insect life. There is no reason to believe that this year’s spraying differed from the regime begun in 2015,” he says.
“The insecticide is designed to kill springtails, whose role in a healthy ecosystem is to transport nutrients for the enrichment of the soil.
“Springtails interfere in the agrichem method of monocrop establishment and every other insect that happens to be within the many hectares sprayed are collateral damage.”
Widespread dismay in Paekakariki and Raumati
Mr Brooking said trustees had canvassed public opinion in the communities that neighbour the park, Raumati South and Paekakariki, and say there is widespread dismay and angst at the volumes of chemicals being used for the purpose of intensive farming that threatens the fragile ecology of the park.
“Also,’ he says, “nobody knows how far the sprays drift over land, in the soils, through the waterways and out to sea.
“Chemical drift is a real health concern to residents and park users.
“The park was not closed, nor residents and park visitors warned during the recent two days of prolonged spray application on the farm.
“People are asking us how the farmer is allowed to do this on public land.”