“The Government initially wanted to implement a broad-based tax on farmers. This would have piled on more cost with no environmental benefit” Chief Executive Dr Tim Mackle said.
“We are pleased the Government has instead listened to the strong advocacy from our sector and will be working with agricultural groups, including DairyNZ, on a plan to drive real behaviour change on farm, rather than introduce a new tax.
“A new tax, in the form of a processor levy in the Emissions Trading Scheme, would have taken money out of farmers’ pockets at a time when it would be better invested on-farm to prepare for and start the process of reducing emissions.
“We are not alone in our thinking, with the Government’s Interim Climate Change Committee noting that ultimately the ETS is not the right mechanism to achieve the best outcomes at a farm-level in the long-term.
“DairyNZ strongly believes that working in partnership is the right approach to deliver real change and to achieve the best outcome for all New Zealanders.
“Farmers are committed to playing their part and want to take action to reduce agricultural emissions, but the mechanism to incentivise action needs to be right.
“He waka eke noa is credible five-year work plan, developed in partnership with other sector groups, that includes clear and measurable actions, outcomes and timeframes that will facilitate and support action across a number of environmental improvements such as climate change, water quality and biodiversity.
“This includes rolling out Farm Environment Plans for all farms by 2025 to ensure every farmer knows their emissions footprint, where those emissions are coming from, and what they can do to manage them.
“Having reliable data is important so that a farmer can make decisions and trade-offs factoring in all the business decisions that need to be weighed up.
“While it is disappointing that the Government has reserved the right to bring agriculture into the ETS in 2025, or earlier if recommended by the Independent Climate Change Commission, this is not something that we have supported.
“We will be working constructively on behalf of dairy farmers to ensure a fair and effective farm-level pricing mechanism is designed through the Commission.
“Our pasture-based dairy sector is one of the most emissions efficient, high quality and sustainable in the world. We are also incredibly innovative and adaptive. He waka eke noa is about ensuring we remain world leaders in a competitive global market.
“Our future is now in our own hands as we work in partnership with the Government to deliver against our commitments” Dr Mackle concluded.
Read more about the industry proposal He waka eke noa.
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