Nationwide Movement Builds Against Fonterra’s “perfect Storm” Of Pollution

Published: Fri 28 May 2021 12:44 PM
Auckland, 28 May 2021 --
A widespread protest movement is building against Fonterra for the damage it is wreaking on environmental and human health, with three protests being held today in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.
Two protests are being staged outside Fonterra’s offices in Auckland (3pm) and Wellington (1pm) today, a day that began with
activists again blocking railway tracks in Dunedin
to stop a train carrying coal to Fonterra’s Clandeboye dairy factory in South Canterbury.
Two weeks ago saw a
choir outside of Environment Canterbury’s headquarters
in Christchurch, opposing the granting of another 10-year consent to an irrigation scheme, which would further pollute rivers already in a state of crisis.
The protests have been organised by a variety of different groups.
“Fonterra and its farmers profit from dumping their pollution, and waste, for free, into our atmosphere, water and soil, causing worsening climate change, unswimmable rivers, undrinkable water, poor animal welfare, tropical deforestation, loss of amenity and biodiversity, and health risks to everyone, including bowel cancer and premature babies,” said Rob Taylor of
Coal Action Network Aotearoa
, a co-organiser of today’s Auckland protest.
“Fonterra is arguably Aotearoa’s worst polluter, and people are understandably upset about it; we can expect to see a lot more activism, not least because the Government has left the dairy industry out of the emissions trading scheme, and is resisting stronger controls on nitrate pollution,” he said.In Wellington, protestors are gathering at 1pm in Midland Park, opposite Fonterra’s Lambton Quay offices, and plan to chant and sing their protests. Groups involved: Fridays For The Future, Coal Action Network Aotearoa, Extinction Rebellion.In Auckland, the protest will start at 3pm in Victoria Park, opposite Fonterra’s headquarters. Groups involved: Coal Action Network Aotearoa, Auckland Coal Action, Extinction Rebellion.The Dunedin coal train blockade today is at least the fourth such protest against Bathurst’s daily shipment of coal from its Southland mines, which the company wants to expand.
The groups are calling on Fonterra and its farmer shareholders to reduce cow numbers by 50% nationwide, and reduce them to 1990 levels in the worst-affected regions of Canterbury, the Mackenzie Basin, Otago and Southland, and for the company to stop burning coal by 2027, not a decade later as it currently proposes.Key factsBetween 1990 and 2019, dairy cattle numbers increased by 82% nationally, from 3.4 million to 6.3 million. In Canterbury, that increase was almost tenfold, from 113,000 to 1.2 million.The thin, dry and stony soils of Canterbury, the Mackenzie Basin and Otago are totally unsuitable for intensive dairying, which exists only through “hydroponic farming” – totally unsustainable inputs of irrigation water, synthetic nitrogen fertilisers and imported feed such as palm kernel.Intensive dairying also produces copious quantities of two dangerous climate-changing gases, methane and nitrous oxide, in addition to the carbon dioxide produced by Fonterra’s powdered milk factories, which burn about 500,000 tonnes of coal every year.The waste water from those factories is dumped onto neighbouring, cow-free, “ghost farms”, and is so polluting that farmers and their neighbours dare not drink from their own wells, without installing expensive filters.
New Zealand’s animal overstocking is so bad, that New Zealand risks having trade barriers imposed on us by more environmentally-aware countries, especially since agriculture still remains outside the Emissions Trading Scheme.

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