Wednesday, 18 May 2022 09:55

Seeking better outcomes for farmers and NZ

Written by  Jim van der Poel
DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel. DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel.

OPINION: DairyNZ is fighting for an emissions pricing solution that's fair and ensures you can continue running profitable and sustainable businesses.

We're using your feedback now to strengthen two alternative emissions pricing options developed by the Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership (He Waka Eke Noa).

Government has legislated it will put agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme if we don't come up with a better alternative. So, doing nothing is not an option and we fought hard with our industry partners for the opportunity to come up with a better solution.

All 10 primary sector organisations in the 13-member partnership, including DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ, Dairy Companies of NZ, Federated Farmers, Horticulture NZ and Irrigation NZ, are speaking up for our own members and seeking a solution that works for everyone.

Following your feedback, we're doing everything we can to drive down the administration costs of the He Waka Eke Noa options, as far as practically possible. It's vital you can continue running successful businesses while we work as a whole sector to reduce emissions, alongside all sectors and Kiwis.

There will be ongoing discussion and debate on this subject because there's a lot at stake. Agriculture going into the ETS would not bring positive outcomes for farmers or New Zealand.

The ETS would be a broad-based tax on farmers going up every year and would not reduce emissions. We believe the options we're streamlining now, thanks to your feedback, are effective, credible, fair and scientifically robust.

DairyNZ respresents farmers with the world's lowest carbon footprint - that's down to the hard work of our farmers over many years. Now, we want to remain internationally competitive - as our biggest customers like Mars, Nestle and McDonalds increasingly seek sustainability assurances.

Strong farmer feedback

Your feedback from the DairyNZ and B+LNZ roadshow is resoundingly clear - 99% don't want agricultural emissions priced through the ETS. You want a system that is cost-effective, fair and recognises the actions you're taking to reduce emissions behind the farm gate.

We've heard you want control over your farm emissions and farm management. You've expressed a strong preference for the farm-level levy option, so you're recognised and incentivised for on-farm actions. We've also discussed starting with the processor hybrid levy and transitioning to a farm-level levy as soon as possible.

You want transparency over where the money is going an proof of an effective plan to deliver technology to farmers. We've heard you support the recognition of a wider range of on-farm vegetation not eligible in the NZ ETS.

What happens next

We'll keep working to make sure the partnership's recommendation to government, due May 31, reflects what you've told us.

And we'll keep sharing dairy farmers' voice when the Government releases their final proposed agricultural emissions pricing design for public consultation in August. That's another opportunity for you to have a say.

It's vital we have a system that works. That's why we're working so hard to get this right.

Jim van der Poel is DairyNZ chair.

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