Greenpeace billboard ruled ‘misleading’

Federated Farmers is pleased the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a Greenpeace billboard aimed at fertilizer companies and the dairy industry is misleading and takes advocacy a step too far.

“Federated Farmers believes everyone has the right to express strong views but as the ASA Complaints Board ruling underlines, over-simplification of issues and targeting of two farmer-owned companies is misleading and overly provocative,” Feds environment spokesperson Chris Allen says.

The billboards read “Ravensdown and Ballance Pollute Rivers”, and in much smaller letters “#TooManyCows” and the Greenpeace logo.

All three complainants said the billboards made a false claim and one, Alan Emerson, stated: “The billboards are untrue, gross exaggeration, puffery and deliberate hyperbole that are designed to mislead.”

“A majority of farmers are working hard and investing significantly to limit run-off, improve water quality and protect biodiversity,” Chris says.  

“Federated Farmers takes every opportunity it can to promote sound farm management and environmental stewardship. There’s more to do but it’s not helpful when lobby groups ignore the substantial progress already achieved, vilifies just one section of New Zealand society and fails to acknowledge that our water quality is also hit by urban sewage and stormwater run-off, industrial pollution and the effects of drought.

“I’d like to see Greenpeace work with Federated Farmers and encourage the continued uptake of good farm management practices across the nation.

“In the spirit of co-operation, I’m sure we can organise a group of farmers to help Greenpeace take down the offending billboards.”

The ASA board ruled the billboards breached rules in the Advertising Standards Code relating to misleading, deceiving or confusing consumers, and rule 2(h), which relates to whether environmental claims are “accurate and able to be substantiated by evidence that reflects scientific and technological developments”.