Greenpeace activists have scaled the office building of the Fertiliser Association in Wellington, to highlight the role of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser in driving industrial dairying and furthering the climate crisis. 

Five climbers began their occupation of the building at 7am this morning, and have unfurled a huge banner containing the names of the 30,000 New Zealanders that have signed a petition calling on the Government to phase out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser. 

Around half a million tonnes of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is used in New Zealand every year. It’s primarily used by the dairy industry to accelerate grass growth and ramp up cow numbers.

Greenpeace agriculture campaigner Gen Toop says phasing out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and reducing cow numbers is key to meaningful climate action.

“We can all see the devastation occurring worldwide from more frequent and intense fires, floods and extreme weather. The climate crisis is on our doorstep, and industrial dairying is New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter,” Toop says. 

“Synthetic fertiliser fuels industrial dairying and too many cows, causing the climate crisis to worsen, polluting our rivers and contaminating our drinking water.”

The Fertiliser Association is the lobby group for the two agri-chemical companies, Ravensdown and Ballance, that sell 98% of all the fertiliser used in New Zealand. (1)

“For decades, governments of all stripes have failed to deal with NZ’s biggest climate polluter – industrial dairying. And we know that lobby groups like the Fertiliser Association have had an influence on that.

“We can’t keep allowing synthetic fertiliser companies to make a quick buck off trashing our planet. There are already farmers who have ditched these companies and the synthetic fertiliser they’re selling and shifted to regenerative farming instead.” 

Earlier this year the Government announced a cap on synthetic fertiliser use of 190kg per hectare, which will come into force mid next year. Toop says that in the midst of a worsening climate crisis, that new cap simply doesn’t cut it.

“30,000 people have called on the Government to ban synthetic fertiliser – and they won’t be the last. With just a couple of weeks until this election, any political party serious about the climate crisis must commit to phasing out synthetic fertiliser.”

Follow the action here.


Right now, five climbers have scaled the Fertiliser Association building in Wellington.