Greenpeace is welcoming Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Deputy Prime Minister Carmel Sepuloni into their new roles in Government with a challenge to make real climate action their ‘bread and butter’, saying “there’s no bread and butter on a dead planet”.

Greenpeace spokesperson Amanda Larsson says, “Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has said that under his leadership, the Labour Government will focus on ‘bread and butter issues’, so let’s talk about bread. With drought and conflict driving global grain prices to record highs last year, it’s clear that putting bread on the table in New Zealand requires global leadership to slow the climate crisis.” 

“And let’s talk about butter. While people in Aotearoa struggle to afford butter, cheese and milk, the dairy industry has continued to rake in massive profits while the rest of us pay for its rampant pollution.”

“Here in New Zealand, the biggest climate polluter is the dairy industry driven by vast amounts of fossil fuel derived nitrogen fertiliser. Yet while the rest of us pay the price of the climate crisis, the dairy industry has been let off the hook.  

“In the last two years of this Government’s term, Fonterra has been named the country’s biggest polluter each year while raking in over $1 billion in profit, but each year the dairy industry has been given a free pass on paying for its emissions while the rest of us pick up the tab.”

“People are already suffering with the cost of living, and the extreme weather impacts of the climate crisis will continue to drive up the price of food unless action is taken now.” 

Larsson says that, for a Government to be credible in this current reality, they need to regulate the polluting companies that are driving the climate crisis. Greenpeace is calling on the new Prime Minister to adopt a three-point plan that it says will make the biggest difference.

Firstly, extending the ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration to include all new coal, gas and oil development both on land and at sea.

In a tweet last week, Greenpeace thanked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her courage in making the decision to ban new offshore oil and gas exploration, saying it was the most significant climate policy in Aotearoa’s history.

“By closing off the vast majority of its huge EEZ to further fossil fuel development, New Zealand became one of the first countries in the world to decisively stand up to fossil fuel interests. That bold leadership was globally significant and something most New Zealanders are rightly proud of.

“It’s also a stark contrast to the National Party leader Christopher Luxon’s nonsensical plans to bring back oil and gas drilling. In the middle of a climate emergency, there is nothing more absurd than pledging to search for new fossil fuels to burn. Governments need to phase out coal, oil and gas and facilitate a rapid roll-out of more renewables.”

Although Ardern began her tenure as Prime Minister with a bold climate announcement, her ambitious rhetoric thereafter was seldom paired with action despite winning a landslide majority in her second term and installing Green Party Minister James Shaw as Climate Minister. 

Most significantly, she shied away from regulating the nation’s biggest polluter-intensive dairy and the synthetic nitrogen fertiliser industry that drives it. This is the second item on Greenpeace’s three-point plan.

“Dairy is New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter by far. But farming differently could help cool the climate and position New Zealand as a leader again. Governments need to phase out the drivers of industrial agriculture, like synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, and support the transition to ecological farming.”

Thirdly, Larsson says the Government must invest in more transport options.

“New Zealand’s second biggest climate polluter is road vehicles. Governments need to spend less on roads that encourage driving and more on infrastructure that allows people to get around by foot, bike, bus, train, ferry and more.”



Amanda Larsson, Greenpeace Aotearoa head of campaigns: 021-722-794

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