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Genevieve Toop

Genevieve Toop is a food and agriculture campaigner for Greenpeace New Zealand.

  • Early this morning, we travelled to the proposed site of the Ruataniwha irrigation dam in Hawke’s Bay. With a small crane we uplifted the construction site office, put it on the back of a truck and drove it 100kms to Napier.  There we left it at the door of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC).

    There is huge opposition to the Ruataniwha dam because it would drive industrial dairying and further pollute Hawke’s Bay’s freshwater.  It would also need to be subsidised with millions of tax and ratepayer dollars.  Read more >

    Over 40,000 people have already signed the petition to stop Government-funded river pollution, and 8,500 have sent a direct message to the HBRC – it’s clear as day that this is an issue that deeply resonates with New Zealanders.

    If the Ruataniwha dam goes ahead, it will have r...

  • Ruataniwha dam down but not out… yet

    Blogpost by Genevieve Toop - September 9, 2016 at 12:23

    The proposed Ruataniwha Dam is the poster child of Big Irrigation.  

    It stands as a symbol of the Government's agenda to prop up industrial dairying despite the fact that it’s poisoning our waterways and indebting farmers.

    Because of this we can be assured that, blinded by ideology and greed the Government and those with vested interests will stop at nothing to get the dam thing built.

    So even though the Court of Appeal has ruled that the dam company cannot kill the 22-hectare piece of forest protected by the Conservation Act that is getting in the way of their dam we cannot celebrate the demise of the dam just yet.

    When it comes to that precious piece of conservation land here is what could happen next:

    They could try, using the Public Works Act to forcibly take this forest from the h...

    Read more >
  • In the last two weeks, roughly 4500 adults and children have been struck down with a waterborne gastro illness found in Havelock North’s water supply.

    That’s a third of the town’s entire population.

    Most likely source? Ruminant farm animals - quite possibly cows.

    The crisis has sparked concerns about industrial agriculture - not just in the Hawke’s Bay but across New Zealand.

    Leading freshwater scientist Mike Joy says this is a case of water mismanagement “coming home to roost….we are seeing the legacy of not looking after our water”.

    Public health professor Michael Baker says New Zealand’s drinking water is “under huge pressure from…intensification of dairying, which is obviously contaminating surface water a lot more.”

    The reasonable thing to do in the face of the Hawke’s Bay crisis would be ... Read more >

  • There’s no question about it -  drought is causing serious problems for our farmers and communities.

    So what do we do about it? Dams and irrigation are often touted as the best way to deal with increasing dry spells, especially in regions with low rainfall.  But what’s actually happening is water captured for irrigation in New Zealand  isn’t just being used to help tide farms over during droughts. It’s being used to intensify farming.

    So what happens if droughts keep getting worse, and the irrigated water that allowed farms to intensify is no longer there?  We only need look to Opuha dam in Canterbury to see how this critical problem plays out.

    The Opuha dam was built in 1998 with the promise of helping farmers through the tough droughts that had been hitting Canterbury. In the summer of 2... Read more >

  • Answer? A fresh water crisis.

    Gone are the days of Aussies telling Kiwi sheep jokes. In the past 20 years, sheep,  pine trees and shrub have made way for more and more cows,  mostly for intensive dairying.   At the same time our lakes, rivers and aquifers are becoming more and more polluted.  

    You don’t have to be the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to put two and two together there. (Although she did do that in this report).

    5 million cows and their impact on our fresh water could easily become just another statistic if it wasn’t for everyday Kiwis willing to step up and take action to protect our waters.

    Recently shocked trampers snapped shots of cows standing in lakes and rivers in Canterbury and Otago and sent them in to the media, clearly showing just how inadequate ... Read more >

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