No time for half measures - ban import of palm oil by-products

The Government should take urgent action to ban imports of Palm Kernel Expeller and Palm Kernel Meal, the Green Party says.

“Earlier this week we were delighted to see New Zealand join with more than 100 other countries in pledging to protect and restore forests around the world. Taking action right now will make that commitment meaningful. Banning the import of Palm Kernel Expeller is one of the most significant contributions the Government could make towards meeting this goal,” says Teanau Tuiono, the Green Party’s spokesperson for agriculture.

Palm Kernel Expeller (PKE) is a by-product of palm oil refining, commonly used as supplementary feed for dairy farms. New Zealand is the biggest importer of PKE in the world.

The manufacture of PKE overseas contributes to illegal and unsustainable rainforest destruction, which contributes to climate change. PKE then makes a further contribution to climate change when it arrives in New Zealand as it provides cheap feed for intensive farming in Aotearoa.

“Forests support an enormous diversity of life – from the indigenous communities that depend on them for their livelihoods, to the millions of plants and wildlife species found there, to the work they do absorbing climate pollution we put into the atmosphere. And yet, all over the world, these precious ecosystems are disappearing at an alarming rate.

“Previous Governments have allowed the import of PKE to continue unabated, which has not only aided the destruction of rainforests to create palm plantations, but incentivised livestock farms to sustain higher numbers of cows than locally grown feed sources can provide for – both of which has made a massive contribution to the climate crisis.

“Last week, Minister Nash told Parliament on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor that New Zealand would not support the import of PKE that lead to illegal activity overseas. Now, as one more than 100 countries pledging to protect and restore forests around the world, it can go a step further and ban PKE imports all together.

“This is no time for half measures. By signing the Declaration on Forest Land Use, New Zealand, as a major consumer of deforestation-linked products like PKE, has committed to doing what it can to protect forest ecosystems. This is a great step forward. Now the Government must put its money where its mouth is and stop the use of PKE in New Zealand for good,” says Teanau Tuiono.

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