Food and farming

These things are fundamental to who we are, what we do and how New Zealand makes its way in the world. But there are big problems with the way we’re farming. The industrial farming model prevalent in New Zealand is damaging our land, water, climate and farmers.

New Zealand farming made a name for itself based on two simple five-letter words – clean and green - with our products setting us apart in shopping trolleys and baskets across the globe. But somewhere along the way we lost our bearings.  

Family farms got snapped up and subsumed into industrial-scale dairying operations. We began clear-felling forests to make way for industrial dairy farms, piling fertilizers onto the land; squeezing too many cows onto every hectare, and feeding them supplementary feed from destroyed Indonesian rainforests. All this to sell faceless milk powder on volatile global commodity markets.

This industrial, high input model has cost our rivers (two thirds are already at times too polluted to swim in safely) our water (New Zealand now has the highest rates of waterborne gastro disease in the developed world), our climate (agriculture emissions make up half New Zealand’s emissions and continue to rise) and our farmers. New Zealand dairy farmers are collectively burdened with $38 billion worth of debt, putting unimaginable pressure on individuals, families and communities.

And things are set to get worse, with large-scale irrigation schemes planned across the country. People don’t necessarily make the link between irrigation and industrial farming. But the one leads directly to the other.  The reason big irrigation companies want to take water from our rivers is to enable more industrial agriculture (namely dairying) where it wouldn’t otherwise have occurred. Irrigation schemes are a golden ticket to more dairying and more water pollution.
 
The industrial dairying model is a failed experiment. Change is needed if New Zealand farming and farmers are to prosper again. We need to make New Zealand farming something we can be proud of again.

The latest updates

 

Greenpeace Oil Campaign: Seven years in the wilderness

Blog entry by Steve Abel | April 13, 2018

A photograph popped up on my Facebook feed recently, saying - “seven years ago today”. It was a shot of the crew from the Oil Free Seas flotilla being welcomed onto Waititi Marae at the isolated tip of the East Cape, where the rising...

Russel Norman letter to SSC

Publication | March 16, 2018 at 8:59

Greenpeace has asked the State Services Commission to expand its investigation into the use of Thompson and Clark by a government agency to include Ministry for Business, Innovation & Employment, after OIA requests revealed the Ministry has also...

OIA Docs for Thompson and Clark MBIE Relationship

Publication | March 16, 2018 at 8:43

Multitudes of documents received under the Official Information Act reveal that the Ministry for Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) has had a close relationship with TCIL for more than four years, and has worked with them to protect the oil...

Strange things lurk in the icy depths of the Antarctic Ocean

Blog entry by Willie Mackenzie | March 15, 2018

Cute penguins might get all the press, whales certainly give the wows, and big-eyed seals bring the feels – but there’s a lot more to the Antarctic Ocean if you’re prepared to dive a little deeper. Some very strange things lurk in...

Licence to Krill

Publication | March 14, 2018 at 7:24

Greenpeace investigations reveal how krill-fishing companies are expanding operations in the fragile Antarctic ocean, putting an entire food web at risk. What’s more, they are often involved in fishing practices that could damage wildlife and...

Open letter to Jacinda Ardern

Publication | March 9, 2018 at 7:47

A group of leading New Zealanders, including scientists, health professionals, unions, and the current New Zealand Poet Laureate, have launched an open letter urging Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to end oil and gas exploration.

Four female environmental activists inspiring us in 2018

Blog entry by Greenpeace New Zealand | March 8, 2018

New Zealand has a strong tradition of female activism. From Kate Sheppard and her campaign that won New Zealand women the right to vote in 1893, to women at the forefront of social and environmental movements today, Aotearoa is...

Great news for the Arctic AND the Antarctic!

Blog entry by Louisa Casson | December 7, 2017

Today is a great day for oceans at both ends of the earth. Last night, governments from around the world agreed to protect a huge part of the Arctic Ocean against all commercial fishing. Thanks to the millions of you who supported...

Samsung: fuelling climate change

Blog entry by Insung Lee | December 7, 2017

As extreme weather increases, the world is being forced to wake up to the realities of climate change. The good news is that every day more and more people are coming together, taking action to ensure a greener future for us all.

Can we create healthy oceans and tackle climate change at the same time?

Blog entry by Louisa Casson | November 22, 2017

“We woke up to the fact that there’s ocean change just like climate change. We need ocean action like there’s climate action.”   These words rang out at international climate talks last week, spoken by Peter Thompson,...

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