Greenpeace trumps dairy industry with river pollution ad ruling

In the on-going fight between Greenpeace and the dairy industry over the state of our rivers, Greenpeace has won the latest round.

Dairy New Zealand complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over a Greenpeace TV ad that blamed its farmers for polluting waterways.

But the ASA has ruled the environmentalists did nothing wrong.

Around half way through the video, the Greenpeace ad claimed "precious drinking water supplies are being polluted by industrial dairy farming and massive irregation schemes".

Dairy New Zealand considered the claim went a step too far and was incorrect.

So Dairy NZ complained to the Advertising Standards Authority. Theirs was just one of 12 complaints the authority received about the ad.

But the ASA rejected all 12 - and that's a big win for Greenpeace.

"Industrial agribusiness has been denying the facts around the dairy industry and water pollution, so I think this ruling will really help the campaign," executive director Russel Norman says.

Dairy NZ claimed the statements made in the ad were both false and misleading.

But the ASA accepted Greenpeace's position that the impact of industrial dairy farming on water quality is widely documented and it never stated nor implied dairy is the sole cause of water pollution.

"What we're seeing is that dairy industry is doing everything they can to try and confuse people about water pollution,

"But the facts are the facts and ordinary New Zealanders are starting to see that," Mr Norman says.

Russel Norman says the failed complaint by Dairy NZ has only strengthened Greenpeace's resolve when it comes to exposing the impact of the dairy industry on our waterways.

"The next generation, they're gonna grow up in a New Zealand full of polluted rivers unless the green movement puts pressure on the dairy industry to clean up its act."

Dairy New Zealand is refusing to admit defeat. It says the Advertising Standards Authority decision won't be final until it's decided whether to lodge an appeal.

But Greenpeace says there's a two week window to lodge an appeal and it received "its" copy of the ASA's decision more than two weeks ago.