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Greenpeace is labelling the commitment to phase-out the use of Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE) “bold and transformational”. The commitment has just been announced as part of the Green Party Agriculture Policy.
“Synthetic fertiliser and imported feed like PKE fuel intensive dairying which is polluting our climate, degrading rivers and contaminating drinking water,” says Greenpeace agriculture campaigner Gen Toop.
“Wildfires are burning across the world and our rivers and lakes have been pushed to the brink. This is no time for half measures. Phasing out the use of PKE is exactly the kind of bold and transformational policy that is needed to deal with the climate and freshwater crises.”
New Zealand is the biggest importer of PKE in the world. It is fed to dairy cows when the stocking rate is too high for the pasture to sustain them. It is linked to deforestation and human rights abuses. Greenpeace has been drawing attention to the issue for over a decade.
“We do hope to see the Green Party extend this phase-out on PKE to cover all types of imported feed in the near future,” says Toop.
The Green Party’s commitment to give greater government support and investment to regenerative and organic farming is also being welcomed by Greenpeace.
“We’re pleased to see the Green Party announce extra support for New Zealand’s farmers to transition into regenerative organic farming which works with nature, not against it.”
“Regenerative farming is one of the best tools we have to fight the climate and ecological crises. Investment in a nationwide shift away from intensive dairying and into regenerative farming is critical to build back better after Covid-19.”
Greenpeace is calling on the Government to create a 1 billion dollar fund to help the country make the shift to regenerative farming, as part of the Covid recovery.
However, Greenpeace says the Green Party policy on restricting synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and bringing agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme is far too weak, and is calling on them to go “harder and faster”.
The current Government brought in a cap on synthetic nitrogen fertiliser as part of its 2020 freshwater reforms. It was set at 190 kg/ha. The Green Party have committed to progressively lowering the cap over the next 17 years.
“Successive governments have given free rein to big agri-businesses to peddle harmful inputs, like synthetic fertiliser and imported feed, that are driving the industrialisation of agriculture,” says Toop.
“We welcome the long overdue shift into putting stricter controls on these inputs and on the big agri-businesses like Ravensdown and Ballance which sell them.”
“But, putting an end to synthetic nitrogen fertiliser use needs to happen much faster than what the Green Party has proposed. We can’t afford to wait until 2037 to get rid of this climate and river wrecking chemical.”
The Green Party has also committed to bringing agriculture into the Emissions Trading scheme by 2022 at the earliest, with a 95% free subsidy, meaning the industry will only pay for 5% of its emissions. They propose that this free subsidy is reduced by 1-2% annually.
“Intensive dairying is New Zealand’s biggest climate emitter. Allowing it to continue to pollute the climate without paying its full and fair share for decades to come is incrementalism at its worst.”