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Fertiliser Front Group Flinches From Face-off

Greenpeace has been informed that the Fertiliser Association has requested a last minute postponement of their appearance at the Environmental Select Committee rather than appear head to head with Greenpeace following a media advisory sent by the environment NGO early yesterday evening.

The media advisory announced that Greenpeace would be "facing off" with the Fertiliser Association today, delivering oral evidence supporting a petition calling for a phase-out of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser. Shortly after that, Greenpeace was notified by the Committee that the headline of the media advisory was the reason for Association's loss of heart.

Greenpeace Senior Campaigner Steve Abel says, "the fertiliser industry’s cowardice is telling. They are clearly afraid of being called out for their ongoing pollution of our rivers and climate, and the contamination of rural peoples’ drinking water with carcinogenic nitrate."

Greenpeace will still give evidence, alongside experts, in support of their petition calling for a phase out of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser this morning (Thursday 14 October) at 9AM; and will return next Thursday (21 October) with a right of reply to the Fertiliser Association’s oral evidence.

"They can run but they can’t hide from the damning evidence against them," says Abel. "We’ll see them next week, and we’ll continue to campaign against harmful synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and the industry that peddles it."

Last year Greenpeace hung a giant banner with the names of the people who signed the petition on the Fertiliser Association office building in Wellington. "They closed their blinds when we hung that banner on their office, and they’re trying to hide from us again today."

Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is a key driver of intensive dairying and is a significant climate and water pollutant. Recent studies have linked synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and intensive dairying to nitrate contamination in drinking water, associated with increased risk of bowel cancer and premature births.

Greenpeace is calling for a transition to regenerative organic farming. "We need farming that gives us healthy soil, healthy water, healthy animals, and healthy people while protecting biodiversity and a stable climate," says Abel.

Greenpeace has called expert evidence from:

- Jono Frew of Natural Performance and Quorum Sense - representing the benefits of farming without synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.

- Dr Alex Macmillan, Associate Professor in Environmental Health at Otago University, and member of OraTaiao, representing the impact of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser on climate change and health.

- Dr Tim Chambers is Senior Research Fellow at Otago University with evidence on the health impact of nitrate contamination of drinking water.

- Dr Adam Canning is a water ecologist speaking to the ecological impacts of nitrogen and synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.

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