A Horizon opinion poll commissioned by Greenpeace reveals that 52 percent of Kiwis think are too many cows for our waterways to cope with.

David Parker has gone on record saying New Zealand had “too many cows” and that farmers may have to reduce herd numbers under proposed new waterway pollution rules.

“It’s great to hear the Government reflecting the concerns of so many New Zealanders that there are too many cows for our waterways to cope with” says Greenpeace sustainable agriculture campaigner Gen Toop.

The Horizon Research report also showed that only 16% of people asked felt that cow numbers could continue to grow.

In a breakdown of political parties 66 percent of New Zealand First voters, 56 percent of Labour voters and 90 percent of Green party supporters felt there were too many cows.

“National leader Simons Bridges was on the radio this morning trying to kick up a fuss about the Minister’s comments. He’s clearly out of touch with his base,” says Toop.

Among National voters polled 40 percent thought there were too many cows. Only 20 percent of National voters thought the herd should continue to expand. 29 percent of National voters think that there are about the right number of cows, and 11% were unsure.

“Our polling found that twice as many National voters think there are too many cows than those who feel numbers can continue to grow.”

Greenpeace though believes the Government needs to go further.

“On its own, regulatory action against nutrient pollution doesn’t go far enough,” says Toop.

“We urgently need fewer cows but the industry is still converting more land into dairy farms. The Government needs to directly stop new conversions and halt intensification of existing dairy.”

The survey also found support for a moratorium on new dairy conversions. Overall, 44% agreed that the Government should put in place a moratorium on dairy conversion, while only 15% disagreed.

A majority of voters for Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens supported the moratorium. Meanwhile, more National voters supported the moratorium than disagreed with it.

Over the next few months the Government will review the National Policy Statement for Freshwater.

“Greenpeace is calling on the Government to turn new dairy conversions and intensification of existing livestock farming into prohibited activities under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater”

That would mean land not currently in dairy would no longer be able to made into new dairy farms and that farmers wanting to add cows to their herds would no longer be able to do so.

“It’s time to reduce the herd, diversify away from intensive dairying and switch to more regenerative ways of farming.”