Critical opportunity for feedback on Govt's agricultural emissions plan

Joseph Mooney, MP for Southland and Associate Spokesperson for Agriculture, encourages the people of Southland to ensure their voices are heard as the Government consults on its proposed plan to price agricultural emissions.

"Farmers and rural landowners will be disappointed by the Government's failure to acknowledge that New Zealand farmers are already the most carbon-efficient food producers globally in its recent announcements on agricultural emissions.

"Our farmers make a significant contribution to New Zealand's economy. Agriculture earns more than half this country's export revenue, and they deserve credit where it's due", Mr Mooney says.

"Farmers I have spoken to have expressed serious concerns that the consensus they thought they had reached with the Government to best manage and reduce emissions on the farm through the He Waka Eke Noa Partnership was largely ignored.  Instead, the Government came up with a different proposal which could gut our rural communities while seeing emissions increase overseas as food production and jobs move offshore.”

Mr Mooney says Labour's plans to reduce sheep and beef farming and production by one-fifth in five years, is simply unacceptable.

"What Labour is saying is one-fifth of our sheep and beef farmers will be gone by 2030 and on top of that, there will be a five per cent reduction in our dairy farmers too during the same period. 

"That is just ridiculous, and the reductions could counter-productively lead to higher global emissions as more sheep and beef production moves overseas to less-efficient farms, potentially contributing to worsening the food security crisis already being experienced globally.

“National supports New Zealand's emissions targets, including reaching carbon net zero by 2050. New Zealand needs to cut its carbon emissions. And that means reducing agriculture emissions over time.

"However, National would also ensure Kiwi farmers enjoy regulatory settings that make it easy to develop and adopt new technology to reduce emissions – not just send primary production, jobs and emissions offshore.

"We backed the sector-led He Waka Eke Noa process as a way to introduce emission pricing for agriculture alongside other measures to reduce on-farm emissions, including the use of new technology. Farmers should be able to earn credits for all forms of on-farm carbon capture. 

“National trusts farmers to be the best environmental stewards of their land, who will use technology, ingenuity and local knowledge to figure out local solutions that work to reduce emissions sensibly.

"Long-lasting change requires broad and enduring support. Consensus with farmers is vital, and failure by the Government to fully consider the impacts of their plan could potentially have disastrous consequences for farmers, rural towns and their communities.

“I strongly encourage anyone interested to make their voice heard and have their say in the conversation on agricultural emissions through the public consultation process”, Mr Mooney says.

The consultation runs until 18 November 2022