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Source: Greenpeace

16 March 2021
Greenpeace says the Labour Government’s delay in implementing already-weak intensive winter grazing regulations is yet another example of them buckling to New Zealand’s “dirtiest industry.”
Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced the delay this evening at a DairyNZ function.
“Leaving a bad practice unregulated and thanking industry for their promises to make it slightly better is no substitute for getting rid of it, as the Government should be doing with intensive winter grazing,” says Greenpeace Senior Campaigner Steve Abel.
“In the middle of a climate and freshwater emergency, it’s pathetic and depressing to see our Government so captured by industry instead of doing the right thing.
“Everyone should be able to trust that their drinking water is clean and safe, and that their future will be free of the fires, floods and droughts brought by the climate crisis. We know that industrial dairying practices, like intensive winter grazing, make all these things worse.”
Intensive winter grazing is the practice of overstocking cows on winter paddocks, churning the ground to mud which can then wash into waterways, spread pathogens and smother insect and plant life.
The Government’s decision to hold off on implementation of winter grazing regulations follows similar decisions to renege on regulations proposed to manage freshwater and climate pollution.
This includes the delay on putting a bottom line on Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN) in freshwater, which was due May 2020.
Abel says the agreement to let the dairy sector self-regulate on winter grazing for yet another year echoes the He Waka Eke Noa partnership – a ‘voluntary’ climate agreement between Government and the dairy industry.
He Waka Eke Noa gives big dairy a free-pass on the emissions trading scheme (ETS) on the condition that farmers develop plans to measure their own emissions – but with no need to actually reduce them, states Abel.
“Today’s policy retreat again shows that Ardern’s Government is more fearful of stepping on the dairy industry’s toes than acting on the climate crisis or freshwater pollution. It feels like this government is owned by the dairy industry,” he says.
“Big polluters have a natural terror of regulation. As this country’s most polluting industry, big dairy has done a staggeringly effective job of lobbying to be let-off and to self-regulate.
“The only way to reduce pollution is actual regulation of dirty industries. Until Ardern regulates industrial dairying our rivers will remain fouled, our drinking water unsafe, and climate chaos will intensify.”