A critical lack of workers in New Zealand is pushing the meat industry to plead with the Government to urgently allow in more overseas staff.
“At Silver Fern Farms, we see the transition to a low carbon economy as an important opportunity to create new forms of value for New Zealand and position our farmers as climate innovators,” says chief executive Simon Limmer.
The co-operative says that greater detail is needed on many of the agriculture proposals, but it is reassured to see an emerging focus on nature-based solutions and encourages further investment into how nature-positive farming techniques can be supported and rapidly scaled.
SFF says the discussion document fails to provide a signal on how the Government will scale up its investment in methane reduction and help best prepare the sector for emissions pricing post-2025.
“The lack of detail and apparent ambition to bolster investment in methane reduction is a lost opportunity. It is our most difficult emissions challenge and requires an immediate and game-changing investment into R&D and technology.
“Making these investments now will enable a scaled-up industry Government partnership to best position New Zealand to not only hit our 2030 targets, but to create a world-leading future farming system, underpinned by nature-positive pastoral agriculture,” says Limmer.
SFF says it also supports the indication of Government action to curb rapid conversion of sheep and beef land to fast-growing forestry but stresses this work must be fast-tracked given the rapidly increasing price of carbon.
“Changing land-use driven by the price of carbon hits us, and our rural communities, hard. We don’t want sheep and beef farms, which have been a key part of the economic and community fabric of modern New Zealand, to disappear due to an unintended consequence of the Emissions Trading Scheme. Fast-growing exotic forestry is not the answer to New Zealand’s climate obligations.
“Finally, we would encourage the Minister and his colleagues to begin a process to ensure cross-party agreement on the Emissions Budgets, the final Emissions Reduction Plan and He Waka Eke Noa outcomes.
“It’s a big ask, but bipartisan climate policy will give all sectors of the economy the certainty to make the upfront investments needed to accelerated emissions reductions to 2030, and support a just transition more broadly,” says Limmer.
SFF encourages those leading the consultations to engage widely face-to-face with rural New Zealand, particularly farmers and landowners.