Greenpeace protesters block Taranaki fertiliser plant

Ballance said the plant's operations were not affected.
Ballance said the plant's operations were not affected. Photo credit: Greenpeace

Protesters from Greenpeace blocked a fertiliser plant in Taranaki on Monday, saying they were demonstrating against the "chemical's destructive climate impact".

Greenpeace agriculture campaigner Gen Toop said protesters were preventing trucks from picking up and distributing product from Ballance's synthetic fertiliser plant in Kapuni.

"Today we’re taking matters into our own hands, stopping Ballance from selling the synthetic fertiliser that’s propping up industrial dairying and driving the climate crisis," Toop said.

"Everyone deserves a life free from the ravages of an overheated planet. That means that right now, we need fewer cows, and a full phase-out of synthetic fertiliser."

Earlier this year, the Government placed a cap on how much synthetic fertiliser could be used on farms, setting an initial limit of 190kg/hectare/year set, with a review by 2023.

But Toop said the cap doesn't go far enough.

"Ahead of the election, we’re calling on all political parties to commit to phasing out synthetic fertiliser, and backing farmers to make the shift from intensive dairying into diversified regenerative farming."

Police said they were alerted to the protest just before 10am on Monday.

"The role of police is to ensure the safety of all and uphold the law, while recognising the lawful right to protest.

"Police will respond appropriately to any issues that may arise."

A spokesperson for Ballance said the company had "made sure the protestors outside our site are safe, and have politely asked that they allow our hard-working local team to enter or exit as needed."  

The spokesperson said the protest had not caused any disruptions to the plant's daily operations.

The company said it was "always available" to have a conversation with Greenpeace and to "share science-backed information" around fertilisers.

"As a 100 percent farmer owned cooperative, we care deeply about the land and the future prosperity of New Zealand," the spokesperson said.

"Nutrients are needed as part of NZ’s sustainable farming future. Nutrients, such as nitrogen, replenish and nourish the soil (whenua) and provide the right nutrients to ensure good quality crops.

"Modern agriculture is dependent on inputs from fertiliser and other sources to maintain productivity. If you removed all fertiliser inputs this would reduce the world's food production by half."