ACT would repeal the fertiliser tax Labour and the Greens are said to be considering for farmers, say ACT MP Mark Cameron and ACT candidate Andrew Hoggard.
There have been numerous reports that the Government is considering the new tax as an alternative to He Waka Eke Noa.
“Weeks after Kiwis faced record food price inflation of 12.5 per cent, Labour is now proposing a tax on fertiliser”, says Mr Cameron.
“Rural New Zealand is already under enormous stress and food prices have been rising at a record rate. A $150 a tonne tax on urea would only add to farmers woes and to the cost of living for New Zealanders.
“This tax would be a blunt instrument because it will punish farmers for the inputs they use rather than the outcomes they achieve. They will pay the tax no matter what they do to mitigate the effects of the fertiliser they use.
“A fertiliser tax, while affecting most farmers, will disproportionally impact the arable and vegetable growing sectors. These are not export industries – they provide cereals and fresh vegetables for New Zealanders, and a tax will increase the price of both.
“It will also potentially mean bigger greenhouse gas footprints for a number of our agricultural products, defeating the Government’s goal.
“Nitrogen fertiliser, used correctly, helps to maintain pasture quality. Poor quality pasture will lead to a less efficient rumen, and therefore higher emissions, but also lower milk production and slower meat gain. As a result, the carbon intensity of New Zealand agricultural products, a major selling point overseas, will be eroded.”
“ACT would repeal this tax, remove agricultural emissions from the threat of entering the ETS, and ensure our carbon price is tied to the prices paid by our top five trading partners”, says Mr Hoggard.
“ACT was the only party to vote against the Zero Carbon Act and to oppose He Waka Eke Noa from the start.
“Damien O’Connor talks about the need for investment for research into agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. New Zealand farmers have already contributed heavily towards this effort. The Government announced a Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions. New Zealanders will pay $338.7 million for research into technologies to reduce on-farm emissions. But O’Connor seems incapable of explaining what this money will achieve.
“Farmers agreed to work on proposals with the Government on the basis that any ‘pricing mechanism would just be part of a component of an overall package designed to reduce greenhouse gases, and only to the extent necessary to incentivise the uptake of viable mitigations, that lower global emissions.’
“This tax doesn't even remotely come close to achieving any of that.”