Government handing Fonterra a free pass

Minister O’Connor should immediately pause the Government’s proposed Fonterra Bill and review its potential impact on the climate, the Green Party says. 

“Minister O’Connor could be about to give one of New Zealand’s biggest polluters a free pass to pollute even more. People deserve to know what the impact is going to be and how much Fonterra is going to get away with,” says the Green Party’s agriculture spokesperson, Teanau Tuiono.

Responding to concerns raised by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, the Minister for Agriculture, Damien O’Connor said the Government would not review the impact its proposed amendment to the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 would have on the climate and freshwater.

“It’s pretty simple really. More cows means more emissions. Putting a climate review in the ‘too hard basket’ and hoping for future tech-fixes to cut agriculture emissions won’t make the problem go away. That’s not science fact, it’s science fiction.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries seems to have its head in the sand, afraid to face the reality of what its planned Fonterra Bill could mean for pollution. Right at the moment we need to be switching to regenerative land use, the Government is planning to make it more difficult for farmers to leave Fonterra. 

“There has been so little urgency from MPI to cut climate pollution from agriculture, so it is unclear why there is now a sudden rush to pass this bill. Surely the Government would prefer to know exactly how its planned changes will impact the planet our kids will inherit from us.  

“This was the exact reason why, in the last term, the Green Party made sure that the Government would have to review the climate impact of legislation. Despite acknowledging that the Fonterra Bill could increase pollution, the Minister seems to have let this one slide past, saying a full review would be too hard. 

“The Green Party is calling on the Government to immediately pause the Fonterra Bill and undertake a thorough review of its potential impact on the climate and freshwater,” says Teanau Tuiono. 

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