ACT is welcoming National’s adoption of our positions around agricultural emissions, but farmers shouldn’t pay a price for their methane emissions if farmers in countries who are our biggest trading partners are not, says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron.

“This is another example of ACT leading the policy conversation and National adopting good ideas – an ACT-National Government can be a Government of real change.

“It’s positive that National has adopted ACT’s positions – that an emissions price must be tied to that of our main trading partners, farmers are able to offset all on-farm sequestration from their emissions liability, and that emissions-reduction technologies must come before a tax.

“It is disappointing though that National, by saying half of our greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, is conflating methane with carbon dioxide. It needs to acknowledge the fundamental difference between methane from livestock (a short-lived greenhouse gas) and carbon dioxide (a near permanent greenhouse gas).

“Director of the New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute at Victoria University Dave Frame, for example, says our emissions are being measured incorrectly. Agriculture is being blamed for a far bigger share of New Zealand’s warming than it is responsible for. Current estimates hugely overestimate the impact of methane and will lead to unnecessary and crippling costs on farmers that are completely unfair.

“National is also still signed up to the Zero Carbon Act and its targets and the Climate Change Commission.

“ACT’s opposition to He Waka Eke Noa has been clear from day one. New Zealand farmers are the most emissions efficient farmers in the world and ACT is committed to policies which reduce the emission intensity of our products while ensuring that production is not driven offshore to less emissions-efficient competitors.

“ACT will tie any emissions price to that of our five main trading partners to ensure there is a level playing field for growers and producers competing overseas. Right now, farmers in countries who are our biggest trading partners are not paying a price for their methane emissions, and so neither should New Zealand farmers. We’ll remove barriers stalling the uptake of emissions reducing technologies. And we’ll ensure farmers can offset all on-farm sequestration from their emissions liability.

“Only ACT opposed the Zero Carbon Act. We’ve said from the start that the legislation is cumbersome and bureaucratic and will allow Governments to micromanage the economy at great cost.”

“New Zealand will not prosper if we are forced to make significantly deeper emissions cuts than our trading partners. We will simply impoverish ourselves and push economic activity to other countries.

“The risk of shooting ourselves in the foot is very real. If we set more aggressive targets than other countries, it will not only harm the economy but also force activity to less efficient jurisdictions, actually increasing global emissions.

“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, too. Labour and the Greens believe Wellington knows best and their bureaucracy and regulation are crushing the rural sector. ACT understands why rural New Zealand is angry with Wellington. We are proud to be the voice for rural New Zealand.”

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