This is how good Fed Farmers President Don Nicholson would look in his personalised Swandri, if he was just brave enough to slip it on.

Back in July, Greenpeace threw down the gauntlet to new Federated Farmers President Don Nicholson, urging him to be the progressive leader the sector desperately needs on climate change

To mark the occasion, we gifted Don a new Swandri, with CLIMATE HERO emblazoned on the back, and a bumper sticker saying: “I’m rattling my dags over climate change”.

Evidentially Don hasn’t been wearing his swannie and we have reason to believe his quad bike doesn’t sport the sticker.

The Feds have just released a manifesto calling for a renegotiation of both Kyoto and the New Zealand emissions trading scheme, to exclude farm animal emissions. In other words, the organisation wishes to take no responsibility for the fact agriculture makes up a large and growing proportion of emissions both here and internationally.

New Zealand has no choice but to deal with agricultural emissions, which make up half of all our emissions. Not only will we be failing the planet, but we’ll lose all credibility internationally if we fail to address our biggest emitter.

It would be interesting to see what consumers in our key markets in Europe - who care deeply about climate change - think of New Zealand farmers’ attitude to the issue. We today challenged Fed Farmers to send its manifesto to the product purchasing managers at UK supermarkets, who’re already big on carbon-friendly products and labelling.

Fed Farmers argues that current climate change policies will impact adversely on agriculture’s competitiveness, but the opposite is true. If our farming sector leaves its head in the sand for much longer over climate change, New Zealand will lost its marketing advantage over international competitors. Swandri-back-high-res.jpg

Being clean and green is starting to count when a product hits shelves overseas and all our exporters should be doing everything they can to corner and monopolize that high end of the market. New Zealand farming’s greenhouse gas emissions performance is already uncomfortably close to that of the UK. We’re at huge risk of future market erosion.

Thankfully, Fed Farmers seems out of touch with the views of many more progressive Kiwi farmers. Greenpeace has been working hard with some of those who’re committed to reducing on-farm emissions. For more info go to