The case to shrink the NZ dairy sector’s footprint is gaining more community support. Can the industry get on the front foot ahead of this pressure?
A Horizon Research survey for Greenpeace in New Zealand from November 2022 found 61% of surveyed New Zealanders now support tighter regulation of the dairy industry to reduce water contamination and greenhouse gas emissions, up from 48% in a similar poll conducted a year prior. The poll also indicates that 55% support phasing out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser as well as increasing support for the New Zealand Government to introduce laws that lower the number of dairy cows across the country. Since December 2021 the number of people opposing laws that lower the number of cows has dropped from 51%, to 44% in December 2022. The polls are similar to the findings of a TVNZ poll undertaken in May 2022 where 34% of the respondents voted yes to reducing cow numbers in New Zealand.
According to Greenpeace Aotearoa the polls indicate the NZ Government has a mandate to introduce regulation that “protects climate, rivers and drinking water from the worst excesses of the dairy industry”. Abel said NZ had “too many cows crammed onto the land” and called for a move towards plant-based regenerative and organic farm production.