DemocracyNZ rejects tax on farm emissions

28 October 2022
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DemocracyNZ leader Matt King said today that his party stands with Federated Farmers’ chair Andrew Hoggard that agriculture emissions reduction targets must be reviewed before trying to create emissions policy.

“In just over two weeks since the Government released its response to He Waka Eke Noa, Labour has lost any support it might have had from the rural sector, and is fast losing support from the rest of the country as well,” Matt said.

A recent Curia poll of 500 Kiwis found that 57 percent did not support the taxing of the agricultural sector to make New Zealand the first country in the world to tax livestock methane emissions. Opposition is even more stark in the rural sector, with 74 percent of Federated Farmers’ members against the Government’s tax-the-farmers proposals.

“We stand behind what Federated Farmers is saying. This government has put the cart before the horse with it’s tax-first-ask-questions-later mentality. No political party can justify a tax on farm emissions once science-based targets are put in place,” Matt said.

“Our agricultural sector’s production efficiency is already world-class, and it makes better sense to work with farmers to promote and build on those efficiency gains, not punish farmers for keeping our economy afloat,” Matt said.

“We will not support taxing farm emissions,” he added.

“The Government’s proposals will lead to a cut in sheep and beef production by almost a quarter, and about 6 percent for dairy farming. That’s a huge cut from our largest export sector and means all Kiwis will suffer yet again as the cost of living in New Zealand will increase.”

“Ardern’s climate change vanity project, to virtue-signal to the world how much New Zealand is doing to stop carbon emissions, shows how out of touch she and her Government is with mainstream New Zealand,” Matt says.

Matt challenged the National Party to explain how it will achieve the targets and not reduce production or cause emissions leakage, where less-efficient countries fill the agriculture demand because New Zealand has cut its production. “The National Party’s misguided attacks on this government only demonstrate that they do not understand agricultural emissions policy. The pricing mechanism itself has no bearing on emissions leakage,” Matt said.

“When it comes to emissions policies, both Labour and National appear in lockstep and neither party’s policies will reduce emissions without cutting agricultural production, through reducing livestock numbers,” Matt emphasised.

The National Party’s policy expects farmers to reduce methane emissions 10% by 2030. There is no way to achieve that target without dramatically reducing livestock numbers. Moreover, promised mitigation technologies are not available and will not be available any time soon.

“Farmers increasingly feel abandoned by a National Party trying to walk an impossible tightrope of keeping their climate conscious urban voters happy while paying lip service to supporting farmers,” Matt said.

At DemocracyNZ we stand by our principles, instead of caving in to the uninformed hysteria around farm emissions. We will reach out to concerned urban voters and explain to them why farmers are not destroying the climate.

“DemocracyNZ expects to be a major player for the rural vote at the next election, farmers are telling us they have had enough of the current policy direction from both major political parties,” he said.