The new State of the Environment report paints a “comprehensively damning” picture of the dairy industry.

The cornerstone report out today says the industry is not only degrading biodiversity, rivers and lakes, hastening climate change, it also points to our seas as another environmental victim of intensive dairying.

“Dairy bosses have been telling us they’re well on the way to cleaning up their act, but the environmental statistics show the truth – the biggest degradations in New Zealand’s environment in recent years have been caused by the dairy industry, says Greenpeace senior campaign and political advisor, Steve Abel.

“Dairy has contributed to the degradation of almost every environmental metric in New Zealand, including filling the marine environment with sediment.”

Greenpeace is calling for the Government to eliminate synthetic nitrogen fertiliser to cut pollution and reverse dairy expansion.

Yesterday’s announcement that the Coalition would not introduce a fertiliser tax is an indication the country is heading in the wrong direction.

“So far this Government has allowed the agricultural industry to shirk responsibility for almost everything, from river pollution and the destruction of fragile landscapes like the Mackenzie, to its role as New Zealand’s biggest climate emitter. As a nation reliant on an international reputation of being clean and green, we’re failing pretty epically,” says Abel.

“This latest report from the Ministry for the Environment is a withering exposé of dairy’s part in trashing the planet.

“It is undeniable that the dairy industry deserves the title of the dirtiest industry in New Zealand, and urgent action is required.”

Almost half of the country is now pasture – more than any other land cover – while only quarter is forest.

“To turn this around, the Government must institute policies that will lead to land use change, get rid of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, dramatically reduce cow numbers, and invest millions into regenerative farming.”