“The Government needs to ensure it is correctly measuring methane emissions before it starts forcing farmers to pay for them, with climate change experts they could be overstating the effects by up to four times,” says ACT’s Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron.

“Director of the NZ Climate Change Research Institute at Victoria University Dave Frame told Newstalk ZB this morning that methane emissions are being measured incorrectly, and that the Climate Change Commission and Ministry for the Environment have “turned way too much of a blind eye to this.”

“With the way emissions are currently being measured, agriculture is being blamed for a far bigger share of New Zealand’s warming than it is actually responsible for. Current estimates hugely over-estimate the impact of methane and will lead to unnecessary and crippling costs on farmers that are completely unfair.

“The Government is putting politics ahead of New Zealand farmers and the New Zealand economy. ACT has always said the focus should be on working with the primary sector on more accurate measurement and management frameworks for methane emissions and ensuring there are no barriers to the uptake of new emissions reduction technologies.

“This means taking into account that short-lived gases like methane and long-lived gases like CO2 have different warming impacts.

“It’s promising the Government is finally softening on the use of methane inhibitors such as Bovaer. But our out of date genetic engineering laws mean that innovations like AgResearch’s High Metabolisable Energy ryegrass, which has the potential to reduce livestock methane emissions by around 23 per cent and ensure less nitrogen is excreted into the environment, are illegal here.

“We’re an export nation who has been kept afloat by the primary sector and relies on it during turbulent economic times. It’s time for the Government to acknowledge the facts before it starts to tax.”

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Mark Cameron