B+LNZ’s consultation submission on ETS changes

We’ve provided the Government with our views on its proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme. We argue the Government needs to get the balance of its policy settings right and introduce limits on offsetting long-lived gas emissions through carbon farming.

image of trees on farm

About the consultation  

In June, the Government released two sets of consultation materials: 

  • an overarching review of the ETS and the role of forestry within it, and 
  • one specifically on potential changes to the permanent forest category of the ETS. 

Consultation closed on 11 August, and B+LNZ was provided with an extension to enable proper consideration of this very significant policy issue for our farmers.  

B+LNZ’s submission document was sent to Officials on Friday 25 August. 

B+LNZ’s consultation submission  

In the document, we firmly support the need for these reviews.  

New Zealand is one of only two countries internationally (the other being Kazakhstan) to allow 100 percent offsetting in our ETS. The lack of any controls has seen a surge in whole farms being sold into forestry for carbon credits.   

While there is absolutely a place for forestry and for offsetting, some restrictions are needed.  

Key elements in our submission included:   

  • making changes to the permanent category of the ETS to limit forestry offsetting to long-lived exotics, and pines such as within Māori land and small-scale blocks within farms 
  • amending the ETS so it can limit the amount of offsetting fossil fuel emitters can sequester in trees, particularly exotic pines  
  • expanding the ETS to recognise more on-farm types of sequestration. 

Farmer feedback 

Our submission was informed by farmer feedback.  

Nearly 200 farmers completed a survey to give us a sense of the range of views on this complex area.  

While many farmers are concerned about the scale and pace of whole farms being sold into forestry as a result of the increasing carbon price, and the resulting effects on rural communities, there are many farmers who see opportunities to grow income from carbon revenue from on-farm planting as part of diversifying their farm systems.  

The need to find a balance between these views was a key argument in our submission.  

We also tested our positions with members of the B+LNZ Environmental Reference Group (made up of farmers from each Farmer Council) as well as farm-forestry experts.  

Thank you to these farmers who provided their fantastic insights into our submission content and to all the farmers who made their own consultation submission (around 100 people used B+LNZ’s prewritten submission template to do this).  

Next steps 

As noted above, B+LNZ’s advocacy efforts will continue. A potential consultation on more detailed settings for alternative vegetation categories in the ETS is expected early next year.  

We’ll keep farmers updated on next steps.  

Read B+LNZ’s consultation submission here (PDF, 1.4MB)