It was good news to hear recently that Fonterra has begun to recognise the potential brand damage from dairy farmers moving away from grass-based milk production to rely on unsustainable supplementary feeds such as Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE). Fonterra are establishing and issuing voluntary guidelines about PKE for farmers to maintain the competitive advantage that […]
I recently had an opinion piece published in the Straight Furrow newspaper. Here is what I wrote. (note: corrected from earlier post) Toxic agenda erodes green brand Our clean green brand is something we need to fiercely protect, but this Government is effectively eroding it instead. National has gutted the Emissions Trading Scheme and is […]
The Prime Minister bragged about how much money his Government is spending on water clean-ups today, but he failed to admit that the money required for clean-up of our rivers and lakes will increase because of his policies. Nearly every study on water quality shows that land use intensification leads to water pollution. Yet the […]
The Worldwatch Institute has just released their report into organic land use and found that between 1999 and 2010 the amount of land farmed organically grew more than threefold. The growing worldwide demand for organic food, clothing, and other products is leading to this change in land use. They do note, however, that the area […]
I launched our fourth “Dirty Water Tour” this week at Invercargill’s New River Estuary, with Southland Green Party member Dave Kennedy, and Maurice Rodway of Fish and Game. Invercargill could potentially overtake Oamaru as the heritage capital of the south – distinctive and attractive heritage buildings abound. Natural heritage at the nearby New River Estuary, […]
With only the most backward openly saying that we can keep trashing the planet to grow the economy it can be harder to distinguish between the rhetoric of genuine environmental commitment and greenwash. The language of “balance” has reappeared. In a speech to Federated Farmers’ conference in Auckland president Bruce Wills talked about the need […]
This is how the story ends. Yesterday I took apart my bike and crammed it into the small rental car of a friend attending the festival. We drove back to Dunedin airport, where incredibly helpful people gave us materials to pack up the bike. Upon arrival in Wellington, I unpacked it, put it back together […]
I was really inspired when taking part in a hui at Puatahi Marae on Sunday, an open day for the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Management Group. The group’s title is a mouthful, but there is nothing complicated about the vision they share, which is to restore the Kaipara, its mauri, its quality and its ecosystems back to what […]
Don’t forget to visit our Good Farm Stories website for Farm Day this Sunday. There are great things going on in rural New Zealand with some farmers proving that we can have both a healthy farming sector and a healthy environment. One of the last things Jeanette Fitzsimons did before leaving Parliament was to put […]
An enterprising farmer, Roger Beattie, is proposing that he should be allowed to farm Weka (and presumably Kiwi, etc), for sale to be eaten. Apparently “weka [were] delicious, and made chicken look bland and greasy in comparison.” That’s all well and good. Maybe they do taste good and maybe there would be a market for […]
This is how we present our butter to the world: “Only our cows are free to roam all day long. Anchor – the free range butter company”. And this is cubicle factory dairy production – the battery cow. Or this: Cognitive dissonance anyone?
Have you ever felt that after a long day inside a building you just have to get out and feel the sun and breathe some air? I guess not being able to do that is one of the punishments the prison system imposes on offenders. But even they get an hour or so out in […]
As Jeanette previewed yesterday, the Greens’ Good Farm Stories website has been launched today. You can find it here: www.goodfarmstories.org.nz. There’s a wealth of material, so grab a cup of tea and enjoy!
“Agricultural intensification over the past 10 years has led to the highest rate of native vegetation loss since European colonisation.” Landcare Research Annual Report
Cool. Today a new campaign has been launched for one of New Zealand’s most iconic features – our Wild Rivers. It’s great to see diverse groups – tree-huggers, deer-stalkers, bird-watchers, knobbly-kneed trampers, sharp-edged climbers, risky rafters, kool-kat kayakers, and angelic anglers – representing “over 100,000 New Zealanders” and united in seeking to protect wild rivers […]
Now here’s a great idea for economic development. Extract lignite, the lowest quality coal, very wet and of low calorific value. Add copious water pollution, coal seam methane and land disturbance from open cast mining.
The Dompost on Saturday reported that a debate about landuse and water quality is deepening in the Hawkes Bay. The Mohaka River has a Water Conservation Order on it. However its quality is declining. One tributary comes from the volcanic plateau where land has been converted from forests to industrial-sized dairy farms.
Sometimes something really good happens. The World Bank has withdrawn funding for the palm oil sector including the Wilmar company that supplies [PDF] palm kernel to Fonterra. The World Bank is not satisfied that the palm plantations they loaned to in parts of the developing world met acceptable standards for sustainability. Congratulations to the Forest […]
Kim Knight at the Sunday Star Times provides welcome investigative journalism today in a story and major feature on the origin of the massive amount of palm kernel expeller (PKE) that New Zealand imports for supplementary feed on dairy farms. She writes: It looks like Armageddon. It’s just a palm plantation. Palm oil is a […]
The Kawerau pulp and paper mill should not be granted consents to pollute the Tarawera River — known locally as “The Black Drain” — for another thirty-five years. I spoke yesterday at the hearings in Whakatane for consents to discharge to air and water from the pulp mill. The pulp mill, owned by companies Carter […]
The Fishing News reported last year that: The Mohaka River has to be the jewel in the crown of Hawkes Bay trout fisheries, yet the upper reaches of this magnificent river are in decline due mainly to intense dairy farming and the subsequent effluent run-off. One of its tributaries is the Taharua River, into which […]
Some great listening and viewing this morning on NZ environmental issues. Podcasts and on-demand TV means those who slept in haven’t missed out – so enjoy. RadioNZ’s Insight doco at 8am was on carbon offsetting. Reporter Ian Telfer narrated a well-rounded look at the benefits and risks inherent in the largely-unregulated voluntary carbon market. Includes […]
Federated Farmers seemed a tad defensive yesterday. Their press release “Environmentalists ‘silence deafening’ on dirty cities” said: Federated Farmers believes the hypocrisy of environmental lobbyists has been revealed by their silence on urban pollution. “Yesterday, farmers learned that raw sewerage and heavy metals are being pumped into Wellington Harbour. But environmentalists like ‘hook and bullet’ […]
This advert is on prominent display at Wellington airport. It’s similar to one I noted last year. The Talley boys’ colourful political views are quite well known, and they are hardly the poster-boys for sustainable wild fishing. For example, this insightful analogy for bottom-trawling – a practice that has caused UK supermarket Waitrose to destock […]
Here’s one that left me speechless with incredulity… Fed Farmers Dairy chairman Lachlan McKenzie addressed the organisation’s AGM yesterday and made some quite ridiculous and irresponsible comments on the progress that farmers have made in cleaning up waterways. This time last year, Fish and Game New Zealand was calling on the government to regulate production […]
Yesterday, Kevin Hague MP blogged on the voluntary efforts to improve water quality and water-way ecology in the Aorere catchment. And, the Greens continue to promote a Green New Deal stimulus measure to spread fencing and planting across the country, to create jobs and restore waterways at the same time. Today, the National Institute of […]
Two important studies revealing the state of our freshwater came out last week, and the news is disappointing. The first comes from NIWA, and updates water quality trends at the 77 National River Water Quality Network sites, which have been monitored over the last 20 years. The study confirmed that waterways flowing through farmland have […]
Russel Norman recently submitted to many Councils’ LTCCPs through the country on the importance of planning to restore our waterways to health. Other MPs and Greens ably presented his submission at hearings around the country that he couldn’t make. Jeanette pushed for retention of the Clean Streams funding for riparian planting and fencing in the […]
Just over a week ago, the High Court ruled that ERMA breached the law in accepting applications from AgResearch to import and experiment on a range of genetically modified animals. I described the application at the time it was lodged as: A huge application to genetically engineer a wide range of animals, plus human and […]
Hawke’s Bay has come up with a solution to one of the main sources of pollution in the scenic and popular Tukituki River. Two months ago I highlighted some photos of Tukituki algae blooms on the Baybuzz blog, noting that: The slime is associated with low flows due to over-allocation of the water during summer drought flows, […]
1969 – the year the PLO appointed Yasser Arafat leader; Vietnam protests were raging; Yoko and John were bedding-in again; Apollo 11 lands on the moon; Woodstock opened; the Beatles released Abbey Road; two computers were first networked; and capital punishment was abolished in the UK. The same year, an article by G R Fish* […]
So, dairy farming company CraFarms has been charged yet again for alleged dirty dairying on a farm near Hamilton. They were in court yesterday in Te Awamutu, prosecuted by Environment Waikato. Their defence: “the farm’s effluent system had difficulties managing the herd size.” Imagine if Air NZ said, “sorry the landing gear collapsed due to […]
The Sunday expose on intensive pig farming has pushed the shadowy world of indoor pig farming firmly into the spotlight. TVNZ’s Close-up this evening pitted Mike King (and Safe‘s Hans Kreik) off against Chris Trengrove, the Chair of the Pork Board, resulting in a commitment to random visits of other pig farms to see if […]
Hi Strings, you raised some really interesting questions in the comment section of this ETS post and I’m sorry I haven’t had time to answer them till now: We can’t “leave agriculture out of Kyoto” – it is already in, for all countries, and all countries have liabilities that include all their emissions above their […]
Today the Green Co-leaders launched our Green New Deal stimulus package to “to save the economy and the environment at the same time”. Launching it, Jeanette said: We’re engaging on economic issues on a new scale. The Greens’ package is costed with the best available published figures, and clearly specifies the benefits of each initiative […]
ERMA today followed the EU, US and Canada and revoked approvals for the herbicide methylarsinic acid (MSMA) in New Zealand.
Federated Farmers’ press release just now – Move over shark wranglers, farming’s far riskier – is something the Greens can agree with. Farm related fatalities have grown over the past five years to 20 and that is too many. The Feds also acknowledge the economic loss of farm accidents, citing “ACC statistics show that a […]
The release of a Strategy for New Zealand Dairy Farming slipped quietly under the public’s radar this week, with few media picking it up. At the Strategy launch, the PM and Ag Minister David Carter mooed in the direction of the environment: the PM said, “It is important that farmers step up and take leadership […]
Yesterday we heard all the farming related submissions. Federated Farmers continued to be the most extreme – agriculture should be entirely left out of the ETS because food production is important. But in NZ methane and nitrous oxide from farming are the large half (51%) of our emissions. Leaving them out means taxpayers fork out a hefty subsidy to farming, or other energy users pay twice as much as they otherwise would.
Graham Harvey, the author of The Carbon Fields, has a good opinion piece here, where he talks about our lack of food security: Our food supply is now more dependent on globally traded grains than at any time in our history. This makes it inherently unstable and vulnerable to the kind of catastrophic meltdown that […]