One of New Zealand's leading sheep breeders, Derek Daniell, has released a document in which he hopes to tackle the misconceptions about agriculture's role in climate change.

In Inconvenient Truths, Daniell suggests the world needs fewer people, that tourism is a large contributor to global warming, and that planting trees to save the planet is not the answer.

Daniell writes:

"The New Zealand Government speaks with a forked tongue. It has no population policy, with a 44 per cent increase in people since 1990. And current policy promotes long distance tourism for visitors and New Zealanders. Planting trees to offset our extravagant lifestyle is a short-term band aid."


Daniell told The Country's Jamie Mackay that he had personally seen the effects of changing from farming to forestry.

"In the Wairarapa, just our small area, there's around 100,000 stock units have been sold for tree planting in the last 12 months.

Listen to Derek Daniell's first interview with The Country's Jamie Mackay below:

"That 100,000 stock units represents quite a big spend in our local community and if this gathers further momentum there's going to be rural communities that will close down".

Saying that trees are good and cows are bad is a very "unfair description," said Daniell, who pointed out a ruminant's methane emissions involved grass that absorbs carbon dioxide as part of a "natural cycle".

"Ruminants have been around for 90 million years. They're not exactly responsible for climate change."

Read more: Derek Daniell: NZ agriculture makes a convenient scapegoat

The Paris Accord is about not increasing greenhouse gas emissions, which those in pastoral farming are already doing said Daniell, who believed that farming made a "very easy scapegoat," for the Government to blame.

"There's been a big reduction in the number of animals in the last 30 years, there's been a big reduction in the area farmed under grass - and this is simply not taken into account."


Although there has been an increase in dairy cows, Daniell said those numbers have peaked, and there are now 300,000 fewer animals.

"I think we've seen peak dairy cow numbers."

Listen to Derek Daniell's second interview with The Country's Jamie Mackay below:

It's not cows we need to worry about when it comes to climate change, said Daniell - it's humans, and he believed the Government was not helping.

"Do we want 20 million people in this country? I think we're just passing five million at the moment. I say let's keep it at five, because there are a lot of advantages."

Export income is heading to the cities to build extra infrastructure said Daniell, and "the money's got to come from somewhere."

Leading New Zealand sheep breeder, Derek Daniell. Photo / Supplied
Leading New Zealand sheep breeder, Derek Daniell. Photo / Supplied

"The export income has been mainly generated in the country and the it's heading off to the cities. Is that a good economic model?"


Planting pine trees to save the planet is not the answer either said Daniell, who admitted he found pine forests "very monotonous, dark boring places."

Not only that but pine trees don't work as well as people think and Daniell had a large pine forest on one of his boundaries dry out a stream.

"We used to have abundant kōura in that stream. I [only] found one the other day - and I walked up two kilometres of stream."

Also in these interviews: Daniell compares tourism to pastoral farming in terms of the economy, the impact of air travel on climate change and his concerns that Kiwis losing are losing control of our major assets.

Read Inconvenient Truths below: