Farmers need say on greenhouse gas costs

The government-primary sector partnership He Waka Eke Noa has done good work designing how an agricultural greenhouse gas pricing system could work, with the intention of keeping Agriculture out of the ETS. It’s a by farmers, for farmers option, says National’s Climate Change and Agriculture spokespersons Stuart Smith and Barbara Kuriger.


“It is good to see He Waka Eke Noa recognise that methane is different and should be treated differently, but the pricing system is still based off the 10 per cent methane target.  Further discussion is needed on methane measurement and, in particular Global Warming Protections. The latest Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change report indicates methane, due to its short lived nature, need only reduce 3 per cent by 2030.


It is also good to see an intention to recognise indigenous planting as a mitigation option, says Mr Smith.”


“The cost of the new pricing system to farmers needs further discussion. By 2025 these costs will be 5 to eighteen thousand dollars per farm, rising to between fifteen and fifty five thousand dollars per farm by 2030”, says Ms Kuriger.


“The economy is facing the greatest level of uncertainty in a generation but it is exports from our rural sector that has gotten us through. We need to rebuild rural confidence, not add to the pressure with announcements of new levies.


“We know the agriculture and horticulture sectors are hurting right now from an avalanche of new regulation under Labour. Everything from new freshwater rules, the ute tax and uncertainty around how Three Waters changes will impact irrigation.


“New Zealand’s farmers are the most efficient in the world. Producing a litre of milk here has a lower carbon footprint than anywhere else in the world, even after it is transported to market.  National does not want to see leakage of food production to overseas.


“National’s position is clear, New Zealand should not price agricultural emissions until our key trade competitors are taking action to reduce their own agricultural emissions and our farmers have options available to cut emissions without cutting production.


“If we drive our farmers to reduce production through an emissions price we simply further undermine rural confidence and push production offshore where emissions are higher.


“National would only implement an agricultural emissions pricing mechanism once our trade competitors are taking similar action and farmers have workable options to reduce farm emissions without reducing production.


“National encourages farmers to have their say on this important issue.”