“The cost of carbon under the Emissions Trading Scheme pushed up the cost of electricity and added to record fuel prices in 2021 and food is next,” says ACT’s Climate Change spokesperson Simon Court.

“Government targets to reduce industry and transport emissions have driven the carbon price under the ETS from only $25 in 2020 to around $68 per tonne in late 2021.

“That means the ETS component of a litre of Petrol has increased from 6c to 16c in the past two years. The ETS has added another 10c, the same as the Auckland Regional fuel tax, to every litre of petrol consumed.

“The same cost is about to be put onto food, as the Government’s deadline for farmers to start paying is next April. By then, farmers must come up with their own emissions reduction plan or be forced into the ETS. 

“It will also push up the price of staple food items like mince, milk and cheese, at a time when inflation is already going from a canter to a gallop and wages are rising at a much slower pace.

“What’s worse, putting farming into the ETS, or similar, will lead to multiple unintended consequences.

“Rural New Zealand is being covered in pine trees thanks to carbon farming. Bringing agriculture into the ETS will drive even more productive land into pine forests chasing carbon credits rather than for timber products.

“What’s even worse, such a change will actually increase global emissions. This is because people won’t stop eating, the same food will be produced less efficiently offshore. New Zealand has the most efficient farming practices in the world. If we stop producing food here, it will go offshore where the practices aren’t as efficient.

“Adding insult to injury, farmers are not getting credit for all the carbon absorbed by vegetation on their farms. Better data is needed to show exactly how much carbon is actually absorbed by the 1.4 million hectares of native bush on farms, as well as the grass and crops which are recycled into dairy, meat and wool.

"ACT does not accept that farmers should be forced into an ETS or Methane emissions scheme, but if they are ACT will ensure they are fully credited for their carbon absorption and no worse off than foreign competitors. Farming is too important to New Zealand to hobble with bad climate charges.”