If you don’t believe NZ is polluted to the hilt type pollution &/or water into the searchbox. Or go to categories. We are also slathered relentlessly with toxic poisons including 1080 and glyphosate. The headline is correct, clean and green is a complete and utter lie.
Michael Gove plans to cut farmers’ subsidies while enhancing the environment post-Brexit. New Zealand’s cattle-wrecked land shows the folly of his thinking
There can’t be a more successful tourism marketing campaign than “100% Pure New Zealand”. And New Zealand is seen as a world leader in another respect: how its farmers sell their food globally without government subsidies. But the tension between these two successes has been exposed by Sir Tim Smit, the co-founder of the Eden Project in Cornwall.
Smit has sparked a minor international incident by declaring that New Zealand is “so pure the people of Christchurch won’t even swim in the river Avon. Most of the lakes are full of algae. It is like a beautiful person with cancer.” He was speaking to British landowners pondering the New Zealand model for post-Brexit agriculture. British farmers currently receive £3bn in subsidies each year; environment secretary Michael Gove must design a much smaller subsidy system – or scrap it altogether.
Smit argues that New Zealand is no inspiration despite its farmers surviving the removal of subsidies in 1984. Their response has been to intensify, and export milk to China.
Landscapes that George Monbiot might describe as sheep-wrecked are now cattle-wrecked; the cost, argues Smit, is water quality, as nitrates from fertilisers flood into rivers. Smit’s critique has been endorsed not only by Greenpeace New Zealand but also by the chief executive of New Zealand’s fish and game council, Martin Taylor, who calls the country’s clean, green image “a facade”. Brexit marks a crossroads for the British countryside. Gove believes we can boost agricultural productivity while also enhancing the environment. His vision isn’t so dissimilar from some environmentalists’: subsidy-dependent upland farming will cease (and some land even rewilded) while production is intensified on surviving lowland farms.
But the idea that we can have it all – cheap food, pristine environments and profitable farmers – is naive.