Government must act now to stop palm kernel imports

Press release - December 13, 2010
Following the publication of the Sunday Star Times story "Russian roulette with palm kernel imports," (1) Greenpeace is calling on the Government to put an immediate stop to Fonterra’s use of imported palm kernel feed.

The Sunday Star Times story detailed how MAF officials admit that palm kernel feed was never subject to a full biosecurity risk assessment and continues to arrive with unwanted insects on board.

"This is yet another reason for the Government to intervene and stop palm kernel imports," says Greenpeace Senior Climate Campaigner Simon Boxer.

 New Zealand buys around one quarter of the world’s production of palm kernel.

 "The demand for palm kernel has been created by Fonterra’s industrialised dairy model. It is the main user and one of the largest importers of the product," says Boxer.

 "South East Asia’s rainforests and peatlands are being cleared and drained to grow palm products like palm kernel. This process is destroying the habitat of endangered species like the orangutan, but also releases greenhouse gases, making Indonesia the third highest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet.

 "Furthermore, there is now evidence of a link between the milk that’s come from cows fed on palm kernel, and heart disease. (2)

 "For the sake of the climate, South East Asia’s biodiversity, and now New Zealand agriculture and human health, the Government must act," Boxer says.

 "One of these insects could potentially destroy this country’s horticulture sector, which is already dealing with the PSA kiwifruit outbreak. The Government’s going to put $25 million into trying to deal with that, which goes to show that the solutions to biosecurity breakdowns don’t come cheap.

 "Yet it would cost nothing to close this gaping hole in our biosecurity defences and protect South East Asian rainforests and the climate by banning palm kernel imports," Boxer says.




Notes to editors

1. Sunday Star Times 12 December 2010. Page 11 Russian roulette with palm kernel imports


2. NZ Herald 2 October 2010. The fat of the land.