“Farmers in countries who are our biggest trading partners are not paying a price for their methane emissions, and under ACT neither would New Zealand farmers,” say ACT MP Mark Cameron and ACT candidate Andrew Hoggard.

“ACT would also do away with the unnecessary bureaucracy of the Zero Carbon Act, its targets, and the Climate Change Commission.

ACT today released its primary industries policy, Standing up for Rural New Zealand.

“Farmers have had a torrid six years under Labour. They’ve had to put up with an avalanche of regulation and red tape from out of touch Wellington bureaucrats and the Government has tried to sacrifice them to the climate gods by implementing an emissions-pricing scheme that would only send production to less efficient countries,” says Mr Cameron.

“ACT has led the way standing up for farmers in Parliament. ACT was the only party to vote against the Zero Carbon Act. We were the only party willing to oppose He Waka Eke Noa from the beginning. We alone stood up for licensed firearms owners. We’ve consistently opposed the Government’s freshwater rules, Significant Natural Areas, fertiliser tax, the live animal export ban, the ute tax, and more.

“We are the only party calling for agricultural emissions to be measured accurately. Climate scientists have pointed out that the New Zealand Government’s calculations refuse to even measure methane as the short-lived gas that it is. Farmers have to fight for the other parties to even acknowledge the science. ACT is proud to be farmers’ voice in Parliament."

Today, ACT is announcing:

  • Scrapping the Zero Carbon Act and tying any emissions price to that of our five main trading partners with the caveat that if farmers in countries who are our biggest trading partners are not paying a price for their methane emissions, neither should New Zealand farmers.
  • A genuine split gas approach, acknowledging the fundamental difference between methane from livestock (a short-lived greenhouse gas) and carbon dioxide (a near permanent greenhouse gas).
  • Shifting responsibility for farm plans from Wellington bureaucrats to regional councils, while ensuring a consistent template is used and existing plans remain valid.
  • Making sure people with practical animal handling and farming experience are appointed to the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC).
  • Removing barriers stalling the uptake of new technologies by liberalising GE laws.
  • Addressing workforce shortages by removing the cap on the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme, abolishing labour market tests and wage rules, removing the ‘work to residence’ divide for occupations on the Green List, and bringing back 90-day trials.
  • A new Minister and Ministry of Regulation to prevent pointless regulation and red tape from being introduced.
  • Getting rid of Three Waters and bring back a local approach to water resources by having local communities develop acceptable standards and rules for nitrates, sedimentation run off, and freshwater quality.
  • Liberalising water storage requirements to increase farmer resilience to climate and seasonal pressures whilst maintaining aquifer health. And allowing councils to opt into a system in which water resource consents would be converted into time-based tradable water permits so farmers could trade water allocations according to a sensible pricing system.
  • Bringing back live animal exports, under a world-leading animal welfare standard.
  • Scrapping SNAs and restoring private property rights.
  • Scrapping the ute tax.

“ACT wants to see the rural sector given the respect it deserves. That means pulling back on the heavy-handed regulation and central planning coming out of Wellington and letting farmers get on with what they do best,” says Mr Hoggard.

“What Labour and the Greens don’t realise is that they’re undermining efforts by the people who care most about the environment. Farmers have the biggest incentive to care about the environment because they make a living from it.

“A Party Vote for ACT is a vote to end the endless red tape and regulation, to give farmers certainty they won’t be unfairly taxed, to ensure they can get staff when they need them, and to give them – not central planners in Wellington – control over how they do things. 

“New Zealand farmers are the best in the world, and they’ve had to confront plenty of challenges recently. But they shouldn’t have to face challenges from their own Government. ACT understands why rural New Zealand is angry with Wellington. We are proud to be the voice for rural New Zealand.”

ACT's Standing up for Rural New Zealand policy document is here.

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