Saturday, July 20, 2024

Climate Change report recommends farm levy scheme

The Government has heralded a new report from the He Waka Eke Noa – Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership as a milestone in New Zealand tackling emissions across all sectors of its economy.

He Waka Eke Noa has delivered its recommendations to ministers on its preferred system to price greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor and Climate Change Minister, James Shaw thanked the partners for their work, which has been underway since the Government, farming leaders and Māori agreed to a world-first partnership to reduce primary sector emissions in 2019.

“We will take time to carefully consider the report along with the upcoming advice from the Climate Change Commission on the proposals. The sector and the wider public will have the opportunity to provide their view before Cabinet makes final decisions towards the end of the year on how to effectively price emissions,” Minister O’Connor said.

“We are all committed to pricing agricultural emissions to ensure their reduction from 2025, and reiterate that commitment today.

“It’s really important that we get this right. Customers around the world are demanding higher levels of sustainability in the products they buy, so there is the potential for real competitive advantage here if we can get this right and continue moving to sustainable farming systems that are ready to respond to a warming world.”

The He Waka Eke Noa partnership has recommended the introduction of a farm-level levy system from 2025 with separate prices for short and long-lived gases, and a shared governance approach to recommending levy rates.

“My priority as Minister of Climate Change is always effective emissions reduction policies to meet our legislated targets,” Mr Shaw said.

“The Emissions Reduction Plan ensures everyone does their bit to reduce emissions. Farmers and growers are key partners in these efforts, and we will continue working with the sector as we consider the sector partnership’s recommendations.”

The Government committed almost $380 million over four years in Budget 2022 to accelerate efforts to lower agricultural emissions.

“It sees us establishing the new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions as a joint venture with business to accelerate the product development of tools for farmers to reduce emissions.”

“We’re also developing specialised climate-focused extension services and expanding our support for Māori agribusinesses,” Mr O’Connor said.

Minister Shaw said the agriculture sector has a crucial role to play in meeting the recently set emissions budgets.

“We need to urgently cut emissions across all sectors of the economy – and that includes agriculture,” he said.

“There is no question that we need to cut the amount of methane we are putting into the atmosphere, and an effective emissions pricing system for agriculture will play a key part in how we achieve that.”

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