Recently, and for good reason, New Zealanders and the media have objected to companies using palm oil due the deforestation caused by the palm oil industry. For New Zealand to take such a stance, when our diary industry has a similarly devastating impact on the environment, is hypocritical.
In Malaysia (the biggest exporter of palm oil) large areas of rain forest have been cleared to make way for palm plantations. In New Zealand, the majority of our low land forests and plains have already been cleared to allow farming.
The palm oil industry is criticised because it removes the natural habitats of many important, and some endangered, species. The dairy industry has already destroyed the habitats of many important, and some endangered, species.
The Malaysian palm oil industry is responding to criticism by attempting to develop green corridors through palm oil plantations and finding ways to continue growing palm oil without destroying key natural habitats. The New Zealand dairy industry is constantly complaining about ‘over regulation’ and restrictions on its ability to turn more natural areas into diary farms (Mackenzie basin) and to pollute more water ways with dairy effluent, and extract more water from rivers for irrigation and so the dairy industry gripe list goes on
There are already 5.6 million dairy cows in New Zealand, excreting the same amount of effluent as 78.5million* people, its no wonder that New Zealand’s lowland rivers are some of the most polluted in the world.
And to rub salt in the wounds, who is the largest consumer of palm oil product in New Zealand? Not Cadbury, the New Zealand dairy industry. In fact, the New Zealand dairy industry consumes one quarter of the world’s supply of palm oil kernels.
People in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing so many stones
*one cow = 14 people (5.6 x 14 = 78.5)