Friday, 28 June 2024 16:04

Farmer slams Government's methane advisory panel

Rate this item
(0 votes)
Hugh Gardyne Hugh Gardyne

Not all farmers are happy with a new panel set up by the Government to advice on new methane emissions targets.

Gore sheep and beef farmer Hugh Gardyne has slammed the Government, claiming that the appointment of the five members – all academics – and secretariat “consisting of and confined to ministry personnel is astonishing and potentially self-serving”.

In an email copied to Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Climate Change Minister Simon Watts, Gardyne says the selection of the panel “overlooks the valuable contribution to the proposed methane panel that should come from a broader cross-section of NZ.”

He believes that the Methane Science Accord – a group set up by farmers and calls for zero taxing of ruminant methane – should be represented on the panel as well.

“All farmers ask for is some accuracy and honesty from Government and their departments,” Gardyne says in his email, a copy of which was sent to Rural News.

“To set the record straight and put to rest the wailing from the righteous Greens and Labour MP's that conveniently twist the narrative to discredit agriculture.

“Furthermore, there needs a stop to punishing agriculture because other polluting sectors, like industry and transport, won't meet their own targets by 2025 or 2050. It is deceitful to expect agriculture to do the heavy lifting for NZ Inc to cover for sectors that are slow adapters.”

Gardyne warns the Government that the panel could end up “repeating the waffle that has been generated out of NZ's laboratorial conclaves to date”.

“You have missed the opportunity to have a wider representation on the advisory group to objectively settle the differences that currently circulate. Differences that are unhelpful in resolving critical issues that have a significant impact on our agricultural future.

“You have had a chance to appoint a diverse panel representative of views beyond the tertiary sector and lost it. I thought you were smarter!

“I for one have lost confidence in the panel already and the narrow focus of the terms of reference, that ignore the economic and social affects for NZ.”

The panel, announced on Thursday, is chaired by academic and former Fonterra director Nicola Shadbolt. The panel will report back by the end of the year.

New Zealand’s current legislated methane targets would require an incredibly ambitious 10% reduction in methane by 2030 and a 24 to 47% reduction by 2050.

McClay says the Government is committed to meeting its climate change obligations without shutting down Kiwi farms.

“We need to make sure our targets are fair and sustainable,” McClay says.

“New Zealand farmers are some of the world’s most carbon-efficient food producers. It doesn’t make sense to send jobs and production overseas, while less carbon-efficient countries produce the food the world needs.”

Federated Farmers has welcomed the Government announcement with president, Wayne Langford pointing out that Feds have opposed these targets from day one “because we could see no way to reach them without simply shutting down farms”.

“The Government’s own modelling showed that achieving a 10% methane reduction by 2030 could see our sheep and beef production reduce by more than 20%.

“That would be a complete disaster for hard working farming families, rural communities, and the wider New Zealand economy.”

Read 1737 times

The Hound

Fieldays focused

OPINION: Your old mate had a wee crack at Fieldays recently for the perception it was more focused on quantity…

'Woke madness'

OPINION: Real estate agent Janet Dickson's court case, following her refusal to complete a compulsory Māori culture course, is being watched…

» Connect with Rural News

Popular Reads