SOUR MILK – There is a sour side to our white gold – Extinction Rebellion NZ


Extinction Rebellion (XR) Wellington will be taking action at Parliament at 3pm on the 17th of April 2019 to draw attention to the sour side of our white gold. Esteemed freshwater ecologist Dr. Mike Joy will be speaking about the issues of intensive agriculture, bad water use practices and our extreme rates of freshwater pollution and species extinction – among the highest in the world.

Dr. Sea Rotmann, Wellington XR spokesperson says, “In our country, farmers are bound by a model that urges them to destroy the nation’s most valuable natural assets: land and water. We may believe that milk and dairy is our white gold, but this belief has long gone sour…”

“This demonstration, aptly held on the International Day of the Peasant’s Struggle, is to highlight what has been described as one of the most comprehensive eliminations of biodiversity ever: the death of our waterways.”

This abuse of New Zealand’s waterways also extends into urban areas, and in the lowland areas, 90% of wetlands are already gone. Imported fertilizers and animal feeds have polluted lowland soils with cadmium, to the extent that much of it can no longer be used to grow plants to eat.

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Dr. Rotmann says, “Even as our remaining wetlands are destroyed for ‘development’, public money is spent on artificial ones because wetlands are needed to manage water. It is perverse, really, how badly we are managing our most precious resource.”

“Some of the most polluted rivers in the world (like the Yangtze and the Mississippi) would receive a ‘B’ grade using New Zealand water quality standards. It is an outrage that a developed country that sees itself as a leader in agriculture could let its water quality standards become this lax.”

“We lay the responsibility for this destruction here at Parliament, in front of the ones we entrusted to watch over it. Monitoring and management practices have become subtle forms of coercion, where communities are asked to trade jobs and wealth for clean water.

We want this government to finally tell the truth about the state of our water and land. We want the rules they set in place to reflect that truth. And we want immediate action to do everything in our power to stop the massive impact of intensive agriculture on our greenhouse gas emissions, our freshwater species and the quality of our water.”

Given the shocking events in Christchurch, Extinction Rebellion Te Whanganui-a-Tara wants to express clearly that we are an inclusive organisation that is committed to non-violence.

Dr Sea Rotmann explains, “We were all shocked by the events of 15th March. We were so inspired by the leadership shown by youth here and overseas, in the School Strikes 4 Climate protests which happened on the same day as the shooting. We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. And we are leaving them our mess to clean up. Basically, we have borrowed a high interest loan from future generations and other species, and we have no way to make the repayments on time.

“Climate & environmental scientists tell us that action is beyond urgent – we are looking at runaway climate change feedback loops and have kicked off the 6th mass extinction event. Parliament, with cross-party support, passed gun laws within a month of the Christchurch shootings. This has shown us what can be done if there is political will and the situation is taken seriously. But twenty times more lives were lost in last month’s cyclone in Mozambique and Zimbabwe alone. Even if they did not die in our backyard, they are also us, and we all must stand up to combat this global threat, together.”

Extinction Rebellion Te Whanganui-a-Tara demands that our Government:

1. Tells the truth about the climate and ecological crisis
2. Takes the necessary steps (declaring a state of emergency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025) to address it, and
3. Creates Participatory Democracy to oversee the process.


  1. Messiah Joy at it again!
    Joy lived in our very small community, next to a regenerative farm that has not used fertiliser for over 25years. Our neighbour was one of NZ top soil scientists who left because the Clark govt stopped govt science funding, and chemical and fertiliser companies took over funding.

    Hence our universities and agricultural scientists are paid shills for fertiliser companies. Farmers practice farming according to how these scientists tell them to! And government legislate farming practices based on these salesmen scientists.
    Joy has made thousands from fertiliser companies, his universities shut down any discussion from natural farmers like us, and ignored the evidence on our farm. For twenty years he has taken the money.

    The peasant movement focuses on local farm ownership because it is a movement of farmers, (except in NZ where it has been co-opted by urban hippies who don’t understand farming and attack farmers). Also focuses on denying rent seeking patents on life, like seed (GMO) … and has set up seed libraries all round the world trying preserve heritage seed – The effect of Bill Gates/Monsanto GMO seed prices in India resulted in an 80,000% increase in seed (from ₹5 – ₹9/KG to ₹ 1600 for 450 gms), that leads to farm debt, plus the fragile eco-system in India could not cope industrial agriculture and collapsed faster than NZ, but collapsing growth by destroying the soil carbon sponge is happening here, productivity is going down, debt up and farmers are one of highest risk group for suicide.

    University funded Monsanto/Bayer which is largely owned by Bill Gates & Warren Buffet has a system that includes GMO seed, which requires more water, more pesticide, monoculture, and increasing levels of fertiliser but that destroys soil and waterways.

    Cost for a single application for inorganic nitrogen/phosphorus fertiliser costs between $30,000 – $60,000 that cost is passed on.The costs for irrigation systems are in the hundreds of thousands. Farming is full of grifters salesmen/scientists who push down farm profit, and increase food cost.

    Now we are preyed upon by MillTrust investments that own over 6000hectares of farmland in Aust/NZ and other foreign investors who see the biggest problem as private/family/Maori ownership, they want foreign corporate ownership, this is also called neo-colonialism or farmland grabs! NZ is one of five stable democracies on the target list – and Jacinda/Greens mistrust of farmers are supporting this, and Key’s greed set the stage.
    These same investments own shares in irrigation companies, seed patent companies, fertiliser companies. Do you think NZ waterways and soil will get better under under corporate management?

    Farmers would happy to try new/traditional systems if it saved them money. But it is a risk and cost to change over and every time folks like me and my neighbour and many other regenerative, organic, permaculture, agroecology farmers try to speak out or influence policy we are shut down by brought and paid for university scientists like Mike Joy.
    Where was he for the past twenty years? Creating science that supported the bad practices that caused this mess. A fish scientist, who knows nothing of soil and ignores anyone who does, to ensure Messiah Mike Joy get the adoration of a whole generation of miseducated youth.

    Meanwhile true heroes like Geoff Lawton, Dr Christine Jones, Vandana Shiva and Kiwi Kay Baxter, etc. are ignored.

    • “Joy has made thousands from fertiliser companies”

      Evidence for that claim? That’s a serious charge to level at a well respected scientist who had copped flak from farmers, John Key, et al.

      “Meanwhile true heroes like Geoff Lawton, Dr Christine Jones, Vandana Shiva and Kiwi Kay Baxter, etc. are ignored.”

      Why do you say these people are “heroes”? What is it they’ve done that had earned your admiration?

    • National closed down the DSIR not Helen Clark.

      Soil science undertaken by the state owned DSIR was mapping all NZ soils and that stopped with National’s collapse of the DSIR and its programmes. Helen was years later.

      I agree that off shore money and off shore owned fertilizer companies here in NZ sell increasing amounts of poisonous fertilizer which is polluting NZ soils with cadmium from Phosphate and the oil based fertilizer is killing off our soil macrobiotic diversity and polluting our rivers and ground water all to keep fertiliser share holder rich.

      Dr Mike Joy stands out as a courageous and vocal whistle blower who has in depth support from across related academic scientists who have awarded him many accolades.

      Mike does not work alone but is prepared to give public voice across a range of related science and research around NZ environment and the causes and trends of degradation over the term of human occupation.

      Some regard the somewhat petty differences of opinions and perhaps jealousies among some academics and “scientists” aroused by his outspoken campaign, as indicative of a lack of initiative by scientist generally in NZ to make a case for change from our environmental assault perpetrated by industry, developers, banks and financial institutions.

      Many critics of Mike are gutless and lack a will to move into the public arena with information and data revealing what is happening. Sleepy critics add little.

      The bigger picture is one of corruption and environmental assault for profit.

      Energy consumption is the driver.

  2. The attacks on Dr. Joy are ridiculous and border on defamatory. He was one of the first & most prominent scientists willing to stand up & speak out – in very urgent terms, which isn’t something us scientists do easily, and often at our peril – about the freshwater quality & extinction crisis that’s been unfolding for decades in this country. If you care about the horror story that yet again unfolded out of today’s MfE report on the State of our Environment, you better stop attacking the people who are fighting this, and the global capitalist model that got us all into this mess & join us in rebelling. Time for leftist factionalism & attacks on each other is over. Time to save our planet – whatever it takes – from certain doom is NOW.

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