Protestors have halted the distribution of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser this morning in Kapuni in Taranaki, citing the chemical’s destructive climate impact.
The Greenpeace activists have locked on to a blockade structure at the entrance to a synthetic fertiliser factory owned by Ballance. They are preventing all trucks from picking up and distributing the "climate killing" chemical.
Around half a million tonnes of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is used in New Zealand every year. It’s primarily used by the dairy industry to accelerate grass growth and ramp up cow numbers. Intensive dairying is the country’s biggest climate polluter.
Greenpeace agriculture campaigner Gen Toop says that it’s past time the Government tackles the climate impact of synthetic fertiliser and too many cows.
"Today we’re taking matters into our own hands, stopping Ballance from selling the synthetic fertiliser that’s propping up industrial dairying and driving the climate crisis," Toop says.
"We’re already experiencing the floods, droughts and wildfires that will only become more frequent in a hotter and less stable climate. Meanwhile, Ballance makes a killing cooking up hundreds of thousands of tonnes of this climate-wrecking chemical every year."
Since 1990, synthetic fertiliser use has climbed 672% and in that time the number of dairy cows has nearly doubled, causing greenhouse gas emissions from intensive dairying to soar.
Synthetic fertiliser is a climate pollutant itself, independent of its effect on cattle numbers. When applied to farmland, the chemical emits more than the entire domestic aviation industry.
Toop says, "Everyone deserves a life free from the ravages of an overheated planet. That means that right now, we need fewer cows, and a full phase-out of synthetic fertiliser."
Earlier this year the Government announced a cap on synthetic fertiliser use of 190kg per hectare which will come into force mid next year. Toop says that in the midst of a worsening climate crisis, that new cap simply doesn’t cut it.
"Ahead of the election, we’re calling on all political parties to commit to phasing out synthetic fertiliser, and backing farmers to make the shift from intensive dairying into diversified regenerative farming."