Greenpeace says the newly released Government plan for the Primary Sector is a missed opportunity to build back better. 

The plan Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential, was released by Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday. It aims to map out how New Zealand’s Primary Sector earnings can be boosted, while protecting the environment.

But Greenpeace agriculture campaigner Genevieve Toop says the plan isn’t bold enough, given what’s at stake.

“The decisions we make now about New Zealand’s future will either lock us into the climate crisis, or shift us to a cleaner future,” Toop says.

“The Government’s roadmap lacks the truly bold and transformational decisions needed to save our rivers and reduce our emissions from too many cows. 

“The only way New Zealand can meet its emissions reductions obligations is by reducing the number of livestock and diversifying our economy away from an unhealthy reliance on meat and dairy exports.”

Agriculture is New Zealand’s largest greenhouse gas emitter. Its emissions have risen 17% since 1990, primarily due to the dairy herd nearly doubling in size and a 670% increase in synthetic fertiliser use.

“The roadmap should have included a commitment to phase-out synthetic fertiliser, a key driver of intensive dairying, and tangible investments to help the country shift to more plant-based regenerative farming.”

Greenpeace has been calling on the Government to create a billion dollar regenerative farming fund and invest in five key initiatives including: building more plant-based food manufacturing, and providing more support and one-off grants to help farmers take up regenerative farming techniques like agroforestry, cover cropping and diversification.

Greenpeace oceans campaigner, Jessica Desmond, says it’s encouraging to see funding pegged to implement the cameras on commercial fishing boats programme, following years of delays.

“It’s positive the Government included cameras on boats in this plan, despite recent confirmation of New Zealand First’s attempt to block them,” she says.

“We need cameras on boats for accountability from the fishing industry and better-informed decision-making on the oceans. But New Zealander’s trust has been shaken on this issue due to repeated delays, and we’ll need to see swift and effective implementation of these cameras to restore that trust. 

“Crucial to the success of this programme will be independence – the commercial fishing industry shouldn’t be allowed to monitor themselves. Accountability for what happens if non-compliance is detected will also be key to building trust again. 

“The oceans matter to many of us in New Zealand, and they need to be better protected. There needs to be a way those outside Fisheries New Zealand can verify the footage recorded on these vessels, for transparency’s sake.” 

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