Sat, Jul 16, 2022 6:00 AM

Hate hurts


Staff reporter

NZ does not have legislation against hate speech, where one definition is comments that spread and fix feelings of intolerance and prejudice.

Like claiming our dairy farmers are the main cause of emissions, climate pollution and apocalyptic warming, so we all suffer. That comment also generates prejudice against farmers using synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.

Both messages apply globally when repeated by Greenpeace Aotearoa as their part of an international organisation.

Yet our biogenic methane effects have been stable for 20 years with no more warming, and farmers’ ETS contribution is the same as every other person through daily charges.

Repeated demands from associated ideological farming messages are destroying credibility.

Ironically, they are also encouraging urban people to criticise farmers who should be encouraged for mutual benefit. And disinformation from a supported charity is hateful and raises questions about objectives.

Halving our dairy herd merely increases global emissions elsewhere to produce the same amount, with greater warming.

But proud New Zealanders should be telling the world how our dairy farmers are the most emissions-efficient in the world, and promoting our production systems.

While it is not clear why nitrogen fertiliser heats the climate, presumably it relates to dairy cows that should be slaughtered to reduce production.

Reduced nitrogen means less plant growth to eat as nitrogen is one of six essential major plant foods with 115m tonnes used annually throughout the world.

In Japan, 125m people rely on 2 million tonnes of chemical fertilisers to grow their food. Is the message to stop that and create starvation?

Japan is another example of the flaws in demanding regenerative organic farming in NZ. Even though definitions and standards for both vary with shaky scientific foundations, a common theme is no fertilisers.

A century ago, Japan’s 45 million people grew food on its deep, inherently fertile soils using such methods. That involved spreading 1.7 tons human waste, 1.6 tons compost, 700 kg green manure and 100kg fuel ash per ha every year.

Imagine applying that to every hectare of our shallow, inherently infertile soils and especially on predominant hill country. And finding another 40 million people to contribute. Never mind starvation from adopting this as a global policy where Sri Lanka is a current disastrous example.

It was disconcerting to hear the Minister for Climate Change using that role to also promote his Green party policy for regenerative and organic farming, as apparently he is now also Minister of Agriculture.

Then adding Minister of Overseas Trade to claim that is what our customers want. Exporters and marketers have different and more realistic criteria.

He claimed that unless farmers cut emissions we will not sell our food, when that message should be aimed at those currently increasing emissions. And also promoting the clear Paris Climate Change Agreement that food production should not be penalised by emissions controls.

That should be the message to the world from our government supporting our farmers. Not joining Greenpeace’s hostility.

Written by Garrick Batten

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