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


Winning image from the Greenpeace Seeds of Trouble competition

Image | September 19, 2003 at 0:00

Corn grenade: the winning image from the Greenpeace Seeds of Trouble competition

Climate change impacts in New Zealand

Publication | September 3, 2003 at 0:00

Climate change is the most serious environmental problem facing the planet. It is happening now and the effects are being felt in New Zealand. Climate change impacts include changes to rainfall patterns, more extreme weather events like flooding...

Climate change – the evidence

Publication | September 3, 2003 at 0:00

For more than a century, people have relied on fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas for their transport, heating and electricity generation. Now worldwide people and the environment are experiencing the consequences. Global warming is the most...

A Greenpeace activist hangs on the side of a shipment of coal

Image | August 21, 2003 at 1:00

A Greenpeace activist hangs on the side of the 'Almar' which was bringing a shipment of coal into the Port of Tauranga.

Greenpeace activist Adam Shore hangs from the side of the ship Atermon

Image | August 21, 2003 at 1:00

Greenpeace activist Adam Shore hangs from the side of the ship Atermon, in a protest to stop the unloading of coal from Indonesia to be burnt at the Huntly power station.

New Zealand weather map

Publication | July 8, 2003 at 0:00

Wind map of New Zealandshowing mean wind speed (m/s) and mean wind density (W/m2) produce from the meteorological model TAPM for the surface (10m) and (50m) for the years 2001 – 2002 (NIWA, 2003).

Windforce 12

Publication | May 28, 2003 at 0:00

A blueprint to achieve 12% of the world's electricity from wind power by 2020

Peace march in opposition to the US invasion

Image | March 20, 2003 at 0:00

Peace march in opposition to the US invasion of Iraq.

Greenpeace fly a 'NO WAR' over America's Cup yacht race

Image | February 15, 2003 at 0:00

AUCKLAND: Greenpeace fly a 'No War, Peace Now' banner over the beginning of the America's Cup yacht race to protest the invasion of Iraq.

Caught Between Two Worlds

Publication | January 1, 2003 at 0:00

Describes the problems large-scale industrial enterprises like logging and plantations cause for families and communities in the Solomon Islands. The report reinforces the imporatance of village based development in the rebuilding of the nation.

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