Wake up call on NZ land use

Press release - April 19, 2018
Today sees another damning report on the deteriorating health of NZ’s environment. The Ministry for the Environment has released Our Land 2018 which reveals that the large scale conversion and intensification of dairying is a key driver of environmental degradation.

"This report should be a serious wake-up call," says Greenpeace sustainable agriculture campaigner, Gen Toop.

"There are too many cows. We urgently need to diversify and transition away from intensive dairying."The report found that the "intensification of farming is increasing pressure on the environment".

It states: "Farming is considered to be intensifying when the amount of agricultural inputs going into the farm are increasing per hectare of land. Inputs include water, feed, agri-chemicals, and livestock numbers."

The report also found that NZ is losing 192 million tonnes of soil a year into our waterways and into the ocean. 44% of this, 84 million tonnes, is coming from pastoral farming.

"Healthy soil is the key to healthy rivers, healthy people and a healthy planet" says Toop."The industrial way are farming is literally squandering soil, which we ultimately depend on to grow food and sustain life"

Other key finding include: 83% of our indigenous land vertebrates are threatened with extinction and rare wetlands and other rare indigenous ecosystems continue to be destroyed.
"NZ is in a worsening freshwater crisis, our soils are degrading, our emissions increasing and we are continuing to lose our precious wetlands, native forests and tussock lands. 8 out of ten of our indigenous land vertebrates are now threatened with extinction."

"This Government must take urgent action to curb cow numbers and shift New Zealand agriculture away from destructive industrial practices and towards regenerative farming."

"Regenerative farming is the future for farming in NZ and it is already being practiced by innovative farmers around the country."

Just recently Patagonia released an international regenerative organic certification, although this has yet to be adopted in New Zealand.

"Regenerative farming is a way of farming that treats a farm like a healthy ecosystem rather than a factory. It does away with environmentally damaging inputs and has been shown to be able to rebuild healthy soil, reduce pollution, sequester the carbon that causes climate change and protect biodiversity."