Greenpeace Aotearoa has brought a mock dairy herd to Parliament’s lawn to highlight the government’s use of greenwashing instead of real action on New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter: intensive dairy.

Actors representing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw used paint brushes to greenwash dairy cows and a synthetic nitrogen fertiliser factory amid loud mooing.

Greenpeace Aotearoa’s lead climate campaigner, Christine Rose, says: “We’ve just seen Prime Minister Ardern boasting of New Zealand’s climate credentials in New York, but she was talking about the toothless Zero Carbon Act and the ineffectual industry partnership He Waka Eke Noa. We must call it by its right name: greenwash, not climate action.”

Greenpeace Aotearoa brought a mock dairy herd to the New Zealand Parliament’s lawn to highlight the government’s use of greenwashing instead of real action on New Zealand’s biggest climate polluter: intensive dairy. Actors representing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw used paint brushes to greenwash dairy cows and a synthetic nitrogen fertiliser factory amid loud mooing.

According to the New Zealand Greenhouse Gas Inventory, dairy cattle produce almost a quarter of New Zealand’s emissions (23.5%), and industrial agriculture is broadly responsible for half of the country’s climate pollution.

He Waka Eke Noa is New Zealand’s core plan to cut agricultural emissions, yet the scheme is predicted to reduce emissions by only 1% and actually favours the country’s worst polluter – intensive dairy. Greenpeace and other environmental groups argue that regulatory tools such as phasing out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and reducing herd numbers are required.

“Our children and grandchildren deserve a future with a safe and stable climate. But Friday’s School Strike for Climate was a stark reminder that young people are terrified by the climate crisis and will not stand by as the government fails to cut climate pollution from big polluters like intensive dairy,” says Rose. 

“Climate-driven droughts and heatwaves, deadly floods and wildfires are already ruining lives. If governments like ours continue to greenwash ineffective policies instead of taking real action, they will only get worse. Greenpeace is calling on the government to ditch the greenwash and support a transition to more plant-based, regenerative organic agriculture.”

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