New Zealand’s agriculture emissions pricing system sparks protest groundswell

New Zealand could become the first country in the world where farmers have to pay for their livestock’s emissions.

The proposed farm-level levy system has been worked on by peak farming organizations and the NZ government as an alternative to agriculture being included in New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman Andrew Morrison said under the proposal pricing emissions would not start until 2025, which would give farmers time to prepare.

“This is our sector’s plan to manage emissions on-farm in a practical and fair way while keeping agriculture out of an emissions trading scheme,” he said.

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Groundswell against emissions plan

Steve Cranston is a dairy farmer near Hamilton and is part of an organization called Groundswell, which is against the “farming tax”.

“There is no support from grassroots farmers in New Zealand for this tax,” he told ABC Rural.

“By 2030, a lot of farmers will pay $15,000-$50,000 each for this tax and it’s going to cause a huge amount of damage. A lot of these guys will just be forced out of business.”

He said it was disappointing that industry groups were not backing farmers and had been “sucked into this line that farmers are adding to climate change”.

NZ farmers protesting the proposed farm-level levy system in the streets.,Supplied: Groundswell,

“This is an issue for farmers globally, because consumers around the world are being led to believe that farming is bad for the climate.

“I think we really need some leadership by the IPCC and scientific community to get together and fix agricultural emissions accounting because at the moment it’s highly misleading and it’s damaging all of our reputations.”

By December, the New Zealand government is expected to make its final decision on how agricultural emissions will be priced.

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Australian red meat producers are going carbon neutral, but what does that mean?,Landline,

Australia not considering levy

In a statement, Australia’s Agriculture Minister Murray Watt said “a tax similar to the one floated in NZ is not something the government is considering”.

“The Australian government will continue to support and work with our agricultural industries to reduce their emissions,” he said.

“The Australian red meat industry has set its own target to be carbon neutral by 2030.”

A man with cattle.
David Stoate from Anna Plains Station in Australia said the NZ plan was nonsensical.,Supplied: Anna Plains Station,

David Stoate runs Anna Plains cattle station in the Kimberley region of Australia and said the NZ proposal beggarded belief.

“The whole notion of considering methane emissions from livestock in the same way you do carbon emissions from fossil fuels just doesn’t make sense.

“It reflects the great job the fossil fuel industry has done in demonising livestock production, mainly to deflect attention form their own shortcomings.”

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