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Can we stop subsidising dairy now?

Can we stop subsidising dairy now?


Green Media Release  30th May 2008


The Green Party is congratulating Fonterra for today’s announcement of a higher payout but is asking why the ordinary person is paying for Fonterra’s pollution of our air and water.

The taxpayer is subsidising the agricultural sector, mostly dairy, to the tune of $1.3billion to cover its greenhouse emissions over the next five years. And ordinary people are paying the cost of water pollution because most lowland pastoral rivers aren’t safe for swimming any more.

“The diary sector’s cooperative structure has served it well and we all can learn a lot from dairy’s cooperative action,” says Dr. Russel Norman, Green Co-leader.

“But why on earth is the taxpayer subsidising dairy to the tune of around $1.3billion over the next five years to cover the cost of its increased greenhouse emissions?

Under the Kyoto Protocol New Zealand must buy credits to cover any increase in emissions over 1990 levels. A recent Sustainability Council report estimated the likely cost to the taxpayer of covering agriculture’s increased emissions would be around $1.3 billion

“The massive conversion to dairy, and the intensification of agriculture underway right now across the country, is making industrial dairy company directors into millionaires. But the ordinary person is picking up the cost of the pollution of our air and waterways.

“Government reports show the vast bulk of our lowland pastoral rivers are so full of cow effluent that they are dangerous for people to swim in. Ordinary Kiwi kids can’t swim in our rivers while millionaire industrial dairy companies make a fortune. And too bad if you want to go down and catch a fish amongst the E coli bacteria.

“Fonterra needs to do the right thing. It should pay for its greenhouse emissions and clean up its act on polluting rivers – the ‘Clean Streams Accord’ isn’t working.”



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