Farmer input informing ETS submission

// Climate Change

B+LNZ received nearly 200 responses to a survey on the Government’s proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The feedback provided gives us a sense of the range of views and will inform our consultation submission.

Three farmers

B+LNZ Environment Policy Manager Heather McKay says farmer input is critical for this complex area. 

“We really appreciate farmers taking the time to read up on the proposals and complete our survey. It’s important we hear from them. 

“We know there are a range of views out there, and we wanted to better understand these views.”

The feedback provided in the survey will inform B+LNZ’s consultation submission, which will be published on the B+LNZ website (likely after the close of consultation on 11 August).

What the survey showed 

We’re working through the detail of the feedback but there were some key themes.

The survey reinforced that the majority of 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 – while at the same time many farmers see the opportunity to grow income from carbon revenue from on-farm planting as part of diversifying their farm systems. 

The majority agreed that fundamental changes to the ETS are needed. The preferred option to address this was less clear. 

On the Government’s proposed options for changes to the permanent forest category, there was significant concern among farmers about the inclusion of exotics in this category. While farmers saw instances where exotics could be included, there wasn’t consensus on what these exemptions could be. 

There was also strong support for recognition for on-farm sequestration and expanding the categories for recognition. 

Chief executive Sam McIvor says B+LNZ has also been talking to farmer groups and will be working to ensure that our submission gets the balance right.

“While we believe changes need to be made to the ETS, we’re not saying there should be zero offsets available. However, we believe there must be limits on the amount of offsetting.

“Carbon forestry revenue can be important for farmers and play a role in helping New Zealand meet its net zero carbon emissions target by 2050. All options proposed by the Government still allow for offsetting but only some provide us the tools to manage the amount that’s happening.” 

McIvor notes that some of B+LNZ’s Māori levy payers see forestry/carbon revenue as a significant opportunity for income on land that they have been constrained in developing either by legislative or financial limitations. “Understandably they are concerned about the impact some of the proposed changes could have on their income.

“The policy challenge is this – how can we find the right balance between avoiding the potential decimation of some rural communities through wholesale land use change while at the same time providing the carbon revenue opportunity for our farmers.”

Helping farmers have their say

In addition to developing its own consultation submission on behalf of farmers, B+LNZ is also developing a template submission for farmers to use for their own submissions.

This will be available on our website soon – keep an eye on e-diaries and our social media channels.