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29, Oct, 2008

Would John stop this udder madness?


Category: Greenpeace NZ

A dwindling pine forest, some dairy cows, several stumps and a truckload of Ready Lawn now adorn the land at Mr Key’s Helensville electorate office. A large billboard reads: “Would John stop this climate crime?”

Greenpeace - who installed the new vista - called on the National Party leader to front up to the issue of deforestation for intensive dairy farming.

“The National Party has consistently failed to meet the mark over climate change,” said Greenpeace Senior Climate Campaigner Simon Boxer. “The party rates badly on this issue when compared to almost every other political party.

“Yet this global crisis is escalating, and so is New Zealand’s contribution to it. We want to know where John Key’s commitment to tackling climate change is and how he and his party would deal with agriculture’s growing emissions.”

Today’s activity follows non-violent direct action taken by Greenpeace yesterday in the Central North Island, in which four activists locked themselves on to logging equipment and another team rotary hoed 4-metre high letters reading “climate crime” into freshly cleared pasture (1).

Agriculture makes up half of all New Zealand’s emissions and these continue to rise as more and more forest land is cleared to make way for corporate farms.

“We’re seeing deforestation for corporate dairy on a scale not seen before in New Zealand. Tens of thousands of hectares of forests have already been cleared. Government figures suggest another half million hectares is at risk; a quarter of the nation’s total plantation.

“Not only is the deforestation causing annual carbon emissions equivalent to the Huntly Power station, but the forests are being replaced by industrial, intensive farms. This is one of the most greenhouse gas intensive forms of land use. It’s killing the climate and destroying New Zealand’s forestry and tourism sectors.

“If ever there was a climate crime, intensive dairy farming, with the associated chainsaw massacre, is it.

Greenpeace is calling on all political parties to ban further conversion of forests to pasture, to bring agriculture into the ETS before 2013, and to set an emissions reduction target of 30 per cent by 2020.