The Labour Party campaign against farmers continues:
Labour is interesting in receiving more examples of where unfair tax rules confer special privileges on the agricultural sector, says Labour’s Associate Finance spokesperson David Parker.
“Since Labour announced that it intends to make farmers pay 10 per cent of their agricultural greenhouse gas emissions there have been lots of indignant letters to the editor from the farming sector,” David Parker said.
“There has, in fact, been an orchestrated campaign from backers of the National Party and the rural lobby.
“Our MPs have been receiving some pretty unreasonable correspondence, including hate mail,” David Parker said.
There is no excuse for hate mail. But nor is there any reason for Labour to wage war against the productive sector for political ends.
Charges imposed under the ETS are supposed to encourage behavioural changes to reduce emissions, they’re not supposed to be taxes taken from one sector and applied to another. But that’s Labour’s aim – to tax farmers and use the money for research and development in general, not anything aimed at reducing emissions in particular.
Accountants admit that Labour’s last R&D tax exemptions provided them with work as businesses did their best to manipulate their figures so they’d qualify. Evidence that more research was undertaken is much harder to find.
Farmers already pay ETS levies on power and fuel, as everyone else in the country does. On top of that we’re contributing to research aimed at reducing agricultural emissions.
Forcing specific levies on farmers when every other country is exempting agriculture from their Kyoto commitments and the science has not yet come up with much to help reduce emissions is motivated by politics not environmental concerns.
“Labour believes the farming sector should pay its fair share,” David Parker said. “We are actively seeking as many examples as possible of where that’s not happening.”
“New Zealand needs to broaden our export base beyond farming. To do this we need a research and development tax credit. The farming sector must pay its fair share to help fund this.”
Everyone should pay their fair share, not just farmers.
There’s no argument that we should broaden our export base, but there’s no logical reason to single out farmers to pay for it.
Labour’s policy isn’t really for an ETS levy. It’s a tax and a tax by any other name stinks of political opportunism.