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Mills campaign disappointing and deluded

22 November 2007

Mills campaign disappointing and deluded

Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton is disappointed that UK celebrity Heather Mills has lent her name to a claim that meat and dairy can’t be environmentally sound products.

“I doubt the high profile campaign will sway the majority of British public opinion, but it could have some effect,” Jim Anderton said. “It is therefore a reminder to New Zealand about the urgency of having the facts to back up our claim to be an environmentally safe and responsible food producer.”

In a billboard campaign, Heather Mills claims no one can be an environmentalist if they eat meat and dairy products. Ironically, in launching the campaign, Ms Mills arrived in a carbon-spilling four wheel drive, which was kept running for part of the launch.

“The claim that you can’t be an environmentalist if you eat meat and dairy products is wrong. That the picture on one billboard associating meat and dairy with a burned out wasteland and hellish fires suggests Ms Mills has never seen a New Zealand dairy farm. For her information, they are lush and green,” Jim Anderton said.

“The New Zealand Government is currently working with its primary producers to measure, monitor and manage their greenhouse gas foot print.

“I don’t think Ms Mills is an especially reliable source of credible scientific information, but the danger is that some people will take these claims seriously because of her celebrity status. People may think there must be something in it.

“What this campaign does show is that there is a rising tide of consumer concern over environmental issues and over carbon emissions in the production process.

“New Zealand needs to be vigilant about this rising consumer trend. There is potentially a very strong business opportunity for us if we can show that out meat and dairy is much more environmentally responsible than other countries’ and we are carbon neutral.

“Episodes like these should reinvigorate our campaign to be the most sustainable country in the world and show why the current attacks on environmental regulation by Federated Farmers play into the hands of people like Mills,” Jim Anderton said.


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