The National Party’s climate change policy is closely aligned with the sheep and beef sector’s own position, says Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ).
“For the last few months, we have been advocating for the focus to be on establishing a robust and credible measurement and reporting system for agricultural emissions that works for farmers, with a price introduced only if justified; once sequestration has been sorted and there are viable mitigations that are widely available for use,” says Kate Acland, chair of B+LNZ.
“So, we are pleased the National Party has listened to our perspective and insights on how farmers can best play their role in addressing climate change.
“Farmers have sent us a clear message that they are unhappy with the pricing proposal that the He Waka Eke Noa Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership put to Government last year. It would have disproportionately impacted the viability of our most extensive sheep and beef farmers.
“B+LNZ also supports a review of the methane targets based on the latest science and the warming impact of methane on the planet.
“Our vision for the future is one where we’re demonstrating that New Zealand farmers are world leading through measuring and reporting emissions at farm level, where we’re hitting science-based targets, investing in the research and development of mitigation technologies, these are widely available and the market is incentivising farmers to use them.
“The carbon footprint of sheep and beef production is among the lowest in the world. Our sector has reduced its absolute emissions by over 30% since 1990 and we’re confident that as these new technologies come on board, we will continue to make further progress.”
“Though we don’t agree with the current target set by the Government, the sector is likely to hit the 2030 targets and therefore there’s just no justification for a price.”
B+LNZ will also be continuing its discussions with the Government about its climate change policies, says Acland.
B+LNZ is encouraged by National’s new policy aimed at restricting the rate of wholesale conversion of sheep and beef farms into forestry for entry into the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
“Over the last few years, there has been a significant increase in sheep and beef farms being sold for conversion into forestry as a result of the rising carbon price.
“While there are some details that we need to better understand, we support the fundamental direction of the National Party policy. We need to slow down the unbridled conversion of whole farms into carbon farms in the short-term while we work on how to amend the ETS.
“We are not anti-forestry and are not against carbon offsetting, as there are significant opportunities for farmers to integrate trees within their farms. But our view is that fossil fuel emitters should not be able to offset 100 per cent of their pollution by planting trees on food-producing land.
“This is a complicated area that we will be looking to discuss with farmers over the next few weeks. We also welcome a review of the genetic technologies used in New Zealand. We could be ignoring new techniques that would allow farmers to produce food more sustainably. As part of this, it will be vital to ensure we understand exactly where our international consumers are at in their openness to any genetic technologies used in food production.”
For more information, please contact B+LNZ’s Sam Halstead, 027 474 6065, firstname.lastname@example.org