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NZ Greens write to British Greens on food miles

NZ Greens write to British Greens to correct misinformation on food miles

Green Media Release. 31st October 2006

The Green Party is appealing to the British Green parties and other British organisations not to support a campaign against our dairy and lamb on the basis of greenhouse emissions, but is warning New Zealanders we must clean up our act.

“We have written to British Green parties and other organisations campaigning on food miles to point out that the evidence shows that New Zealand dairy and lamb actually has lower emissions than that commercially produced in Britain,” says Green Co-Leader Russel Norman.

“The total greenhouse emissions released in the production and transport of dairy and lamb shipped to Britain from New Zealand are lower than the emissions generated by the production of dairy and lamb in Britain. A Lincoln University study led by Professor Caroline Saunders provides good evidence for this case.

“The Greens support locally grown food for a multitude of reasons including freshness and benefits to local communities and economies, and it is entirely reasonable for British Greens to support buy local campaigns for those reasons. However, we base our climate change policies on evidence, and the evidence in the case of New Zealand dairy and lamb shipped to Britain is compelling.

“In Britain more greenhouse emissions are released in the production of dairy and lamb than New Zealand imports, even accounting for transport by ship.

“Food miles is a useful starting point for the discussion about greenhouse emissions, but we also need to consider the emissions released during production, not just the transport emissions.

“However if we are to get a fair hearing in Britain and the rest of Europe we need to reduce our greenhouse emissions which are spiralling out of control, making us the 11th worst polluter on the planet on a per capita basis. Moreover, the low emissions of our dairy and lamb are, in part, due to our large renewable electricity generation. We also need to clean up our dirty dairy industry that is polluting lowland rivers and streams across the country.

“European consumers care about the environmental impact of the goods they purchase. New Zealand needs to embrace this concern by capping our emissions from agriculture, reducing our emissions overall, and cleaning up our highly polluted lowland rivers. Investing in organic production would also help clean up agricultural production. Then we can proudly market ourselves as clean and green.

“We have also written to Dairy Crest, the butter company campaigning against Fonterra’s Anchor brand butter on the basis of food miles, and the National Farmers Union who have supported the Dairy Crest campaign. Plus we have written to a variety of non-government organisations campaigning on food miles including Friends of the Earth, Women’s Environmental Network and the Soil Association.

ENDS

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