Govt must start phase out of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser

Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

Responding to new research showing the link between cancer and nitrates in drinking water, the Green Party is calling on the Government to immediately start phasing out the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.

“We can have a thriving and sustainable agricultural sector that is good for farmers, good for people, and good for the planet. By phasing out the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser we can tackle the climate crisis and create a more resilient system that supports farmers and growers, and protects our land and our water,” says Eugenie Sage, Green Party spokesperson for environment.

Research published this week shows nitrates in drinking water could be associated with a health burden of up to 100 colorectal cancer cases and 40 deaths in New Zealand every year.

“Currently, the cap on nitrogen fertiliser application is far too high. The evidence is clearer than ever that nitrogen pollution is bad for the health of people, our waterways and the climate. Minister David Parker needs to lower this cap and commit to phasing out the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser entirely.

“The Minister should also set a limit of 1mg/L for Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen in water in the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management.

“As the Government moves forward with its Three Waters reforms, the new agency Taumata Arowai must prioritise getting a comprehensive understanding of nitrate contamination in council and community drinking water supplies around Aotearoa.

“We must make good on our commitments to reduce emissions now to ensure we have a stable climate for our kids and grandkids in the future.”

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