Environment and emissions

Future of hunting statutory body under review

[14 August/Radio NZ] The future of the Game Animal Council was uncertain with the Minster of Conservation putting it under review. It was a statutory body established in 2013 and had been allocated $600,000 from the Department of Conservation. Its goal is to improve the management of deer, chamois, tahr and wild pigs on conservation...

‘F’ rating for Waikato Council in Forest & Bird dairy effluent report – but council says it gave wrong data

[13 August/Stuff] Waikato Regional Council said a Forest & Bird report that criticised its dairy farming effluent compliance was outdated, inaccurate and misleading. Forest and Bird rated councils for their performances and gave Waikato Regional Council an F for failing to prosecute anyone. Forest & Bird Spokesperson, Caitlin Carew, said it was an unfair for...

Toxic algal blooms still flourishing despite the cold

[12 August/Radio NZ] According to the Ministry for Primary Industries, there was an abnormally high number of toxic algal blooms around New Zealand this winter. There were warnings in place against shellfish collection due to algae in many regions. Specialist advisor, Brian Roughan, said it was unclear why the blooms had fired up now. The...

Roundup called into question after US court finding

[12 August/NZ Herald] New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Agency believes Roundup is safe in spite of a U.S. court ruling it contributed to a janitor’s cancer, awarding him $440 million. The lawsuit claimed Roundup caused non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Monsanto insisted hundreds of studies had established the active ingredient was safe and planned to appeal the decision. Associate...

Pamu, Forest & Bird to work together

[6 August/Radio NZ] Pamu, formerly Landcorp, said it will cut down on the number of cows it stocks on each of its Canterbury dairy farms. It declined to put a number on the reduction. It managed six dairy farms in Canterbury. Its Chief Executive, Steven Carden, announced a deal with Forest and Bird to improve...

Anti-coal group protests outside Fonterra’s Auckland office

[26 July/NZ Herald] There was a small protest outside Fonterra’s head office by the Auckland by Coal Action Group over the co-op’s continued use of coal in manufacturing processes. Spokesman, Peter Whitmore, said Fonterra had not done enough to wean itself off coal, despite having joined the Climate Leaders Coalition group. Fonterra was New Zealand’s...

Taranaki iwi speak out against intensive farming

[19 July/Radio NZ] In a new guide developed to help environmental management, Taranaki Iwi have spoken out against intensive farming in the region. The guide was intended to help decision making by Iwi, marae, pa, hapu and whanau, as kaitiaki of the Taranaki rohe. It drew attention to contamination of the land from cropping, intensive...

RMA guidelines concern Federated Farmers

[23 July/Rural Life] Federated Farmers has expressed concerns about new Resource Management Act guidelines. They were intended to assist councils in their monitoring and enforcement duties under the act. Federated Farmers Senior Policy Advisor, Richard Gardner, said it favoured best practice guidelines on how councils exercised their duties. Environment Minister, David Parker, said the enforcement...

Quarter of NZ’s native vegetation found of sheep and beef farms

[6 July/Stuff] A report by the University of Canterbury has shown that a quarter of New Zealand’s native vegetation was found on sheep and beef farms. This was the largest amount outside of conservation land. Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive, Sam McIvor, said the findings were a great acknowledgement for farmers and the...

Farmers on zero carbon: let’s do this

[1 July/Stuff] New Zealand’s farming sector appeared to have signed up to the Government’s plan to be carbon neutral by 2050. The Farming Leaders Group published an editorial statement with Jacinda Ardern. It described the initiative as a very ambitious and challenging target. It said farming leaders with the support of the Government were stating...

Greenpeace dairy farm protesters arrested by police in South Canterbury

[2 July/The Country] Greenpeace protesters who stopped work at the site of a proposed dairy farm extension in South Canterbury were arrested by police. Around 45 protestors locked themselves to diggers and other machinery which disrupted construction of an irrigation pipeline for the new dairy farm. Twelve protestors were arrested and taken to the Timaru...

New Zealand to become the world’s first zero emission food producer – James Shaw

[18 June/Stuff] Climate Change Minister, James Shaw, has a vision for New Zealand to become the first food producer to be emissions neutral. This could create a powerful brand in the international market for New Zealand’s primary produce. Previously, talks about shifting farming to lower its emissions was seen as too difficult, however Mr Shaw...

Farmers welcome further greenhouse gas discussions

[8 June/Radio NZ] Federated Farmers saw the silver lining in the Government’s latest climate change proposals related to the Zero Carbon Bill which aimed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Of the three alternatives, two give a softer run to livestock-sourced methane than to carbon dioxide which could give farmers an easier life during climate...

Greenpeace want agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in carbon act

[7 June/The Country] Greenpeace questioned why the Government was tabling options for its Zero Carbon Bill that could result in agricultural greenhouse gas emissions being treated more softly than other emissions. Farming groups were happy to see the Government considering its approach to shorter-lived gases differently. Greenpeace Climate Campaigner, Kate Simcock, said as the biggest...

How New Zealand should be getting ready for climate change

[24 May/The Country] Better planning, resourcing and leadership have been called for by a top-level panel tasked with helping New Zealand prepare for a warmer, wetter and wilder future. The Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group released 21 major recommendations to adapt to the effects of a transformed atmosphere. Specific recommendations included amending the Local...

Largest boost to DOC since 2002 leaves Green Party smiling

[17 May/Stuff] The Department of Conservation will receive a $181.6 million funding boost over four years. The funds will largely go towards predator control and biodiversity initiatives, and also maintaining parks and paths. $81.6 of the funding is for landscape-predator control which enables DOC to undertake sustained control over 1.8 million hectares. Conservation Minister, Eugenie...

Fert tax coming?

[14 May/Farmers Weekly] Environment Minister, David Parker, appeared to want regional councils to implement plans to improve water quality sooner than is being achieved, according to Local Government New Zealand regional sector chairman, Dough Leeder. Mr Parker indicated he would shorten deadlines. Ecologist and Consultant, Alison Dewes, said given the complexity of the issues on...

Tremendous opportunity for New Zealand farmers to be world leaders

[10 May/NZ Farmer] New Zealand farmers could become global leaders in low emissions agriculture if a solution is found to reduce biological emissions. Climate Change Minister, James Shaw, said countries were looking to New Zealand for leadership in this space. He thought it was an incredible opportunity if we could be the country to work...

Government “out to get farmers”

[7 May/Dairy News] The Government plans to cap dairy herds is ill thought out political grandstanding, according to National Party Leader, Simon Bridges. He said that the plan to regulate the number of cattle farmers were allowed per hectare was another example of the Coalition Government’s assault on the regions. Environment Minister, David Parker, said...

New Govt water plan would curb intensification

[6 May/NZ Herald] Environment Minister, David Parker, introduced new measures that could bring a stop to further dairy farming intensification. The new plan is intended to reduce farming intensity which the Minister blamed for driving pollution in rural waterways. He added that although cow numbers had already peaked and were going down, in some areas...

$55,000 in fines and warning to industry

[27 April/Dairy News] Dairy company Okawa Limited and earthworks company Greener Earthmoving were convicted and fined for carrying out illegal earthworks in the Mangakaeo Stream, near Otorohanga. The earthworks were over a kilometre in length and caused significant environmental damage. They were in breach of the Resource Management Act. Judge Melanie Harland stated that a...

We are growing houses instead of food – Feds

[19 April/Rural News] According a report by the Ministry for the Environment, we are losing our productive land to houses. This was the most significant point Federated Farmers took from the new report. There was a 10 percent increase in urban areas from 2002 to 2012, and a 7 percent reduction in land used for...

Climate change committee members announced

[17 April/Radio NZ] The government announced the expert committee for the Climate Change Commission. They will investigate how New Zealand will transition to a net zero emissions economy by 2025. They will also consider how agriculture can be brought into the Emissions Trading Scheme. The commission will be set up next year. Climate Change Minister,...

Minister in no rush to decide on palm oil labelling or ban PKE

[19 April/Stuff] Agriculture and Food Safety Minister, Damien O’Connor, suggested the farming industry might turn away from palm kernel expeller use without government intervention. He indicated he had not decided if mandatory palm oil labelling on food was warranted. Lewis Road Creamery Chief Executive, Peter Culliane, noted that he supported banning palm oil expeller from...