Government must end industrial dairying subsidies in light of damning greenhouse gas report

Press release - May 21, 2016
Auckland, 21 May 2016: The latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory shows New Zealand's emissions are at their highest level since 1990 and have increased 23% in 24 years.

Agriculture and energy continue to be the highest contributors - accounting for up to 89 percent of New Zealand's climate pollution.

Responding to the release of the inventory Genevieve Toop, Greenpeace’s agriculture campaigner, said:

“Real climate action is a win for everyone, yet the National Government seems determined to lose.”

“Just months ago the Government went and made a whole bunch of promises in front of the world at the Paris Climate Conference and yet back home it is poised to pour nearly half a billion dollars into controversial irrigation schemes that expand the industrial dairy sector and increase New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

The agricultural sector is New Zealand’s biggest emitter.  The inventory reveals that agriculture emissions have increased 15% since 1990 in large part due to the increase of the size of the national dairy herd by a staggering 95% and the increase in the use of nitrogen fertiliser by more than 5-fold.

“The industrial dairy sector’s contribution to climate pollution is huge and looks set to increase through taxpayer funded irrigation schemes like, Central Plains Water and the Ruataniwha dam that serve to expand the industrial dairy sector”

“The intensification and industrialisation of the dairy sector is not only increasing our climate emissions, it is also polluting our rivers, putting the country’s farmers into huge amounts of debt and risking our clean and green brand.”

“Ecological farming is much better for our climate, our rivers, and our international reputation. It’s this that the government should be backing, not some failed industrial agriculture model which is increasing our climate emissions.”

Almost 30,000 people have signed a Greenpeace petition calling on the government to stop funding industrial scale irrigation.
Critics of these schemes say that large-scale irrigation projects lead to industrial dairy expansion, which leads to increased climate emissions and river pollution.
Three weeks ago, Greenpeace used six tonnes of dairy sewage to blockade government department, ACC, in an escalating row over the government’s funding of irrigation schemes.


Genevieve Toop, agriculture campaigner, Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand: 021 316840 and

The New Zealand's Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990-2014 can be found here:  

The Greenpeace petition can be found here