Environmental tax based on perception

Federated Farmers says Environment Southland’s plan to increase the differential rate on dairy land use makes no sense:

“It is our view that you are simply imposing an environmental tax on one land use in Southland based entirely on perception,” said Russell McPherson, Southland provincial president.

“Dairy farms comprise only 3.6 percent of the total number of rating units yet, if this proposal goes ahead, will be paying 41 percent of the property value based general rates.

“In total, the dairy sector is already paying their fair share for what are Environment Southland’s public good resource management responsibilities, but it is specifically and solely targeted through the differential as if it was failing to meet its obligations. That could not be further from the truth.

“Taken at face value the dairy differential indicates that if there was no dairying in the region then there would be no water quality issues. Clearly, this is not the case. Nor is it the case that the dairy sector is the only sector which needs to do better to address water quality.

Dairying can lead to a deterioration in water quality but it doesn’t always and it certainly isn’t the only culprit.

“If the differential is nothing about recognising the costs attributed to ES work and a blatant environmental tax then the differential does not recognise or incentivise individual farmer behaviour. It is like handing a speeding ticket to every driver just for getting in the car. It is simply a tax for being a dairy farmer.

A general tax punishes those farmers who are doing all they can to protect waterways and gives no incentive for anyone else to do any better.

“If you are trying to put dairying in Southland on the back foot and alienate farmers then you are on the right track. You will not engage at a farm level with dairy farmers during any response to the NPS for freshwater by telling them they have to pay you to tell them what to do.

“The dairy differential detracts from the goodwill felt towards council from the very dairy farmers council should be supporting – the dairy farmers who are doing things the right way and leading environmental on farm best practice though massive investment and innovation.

“Council’s decision on whether or not to increase the costs allocated to the dairy sector through the dairy differential this year is actually a decision on how it perceives the sector and how water quality issues in Southland will be addressed.

“If the intention is to develop a partnership approach to identifying the mechanisms to best address resource management issues, then the dairy differential is a bad idea.

“If the intention is to recognise and incentivise good practice, then the dairy differential is a bad idea.

“If the intention is to require all sectors of the community to do a better job of resource management then the dairy differential, is a bad idea.

“If the differential is an attempt to identify a scapegoat, distance this council from a key sector in the region and absolve all other resource management users from responsibility, then the dairy differential is a good step,” Mr McPherson concluded.

The council should be developing policies which improve water quality and incentivise good practice.

Increasing the dairy differential isn’t the way to do it.

3 Responses to Environmental tax based on perception

  1. Captain Fantastic says:

    The dairy industry in Southland has spent, and is spending huge amounts on effluent treatment infrastructure. What this tells me is that Environment Southland and its advice, its advisers and requirements are ineffective and virtually a wasters of resources.The problem is also caused by a number of blindly prejudiced, power obsessed and demonstratively closed minded councillors. (We all know of some of them). As well as building an inflated and bloated overstaffed bureaucracy at Lubyanka Central on North Road, Invercargill.
    The whole problem stems from the National Party’s Resource Management Act. What I always point out to unhappy farmers is that “the National Party is doing it to them”. Or at least they set it in train.The National government should take urgent action to deal with this problem. Dairy Farmers are constantly, (& I think unfairly) maligned. In the minds of the majority they are stereotyped and regarded particularly as “Class Enemies”. That is why I don’t vote National.

  2. fagcs says:

    Absolutely correct. National sold its soul for AGENDA 21.

    Environment Southland and other Councils became the front for implementing the UN agenda.

    fagcs -(fight against government controlled society)

  3. Steve says:

    Green Party policy is to tax the pollution / waste and offset this with income tax reductions over time as the ability to fairly and accurately measure and determine “waste” and “pollution” is refined over time. The idea behind the tax is that if you produce less waste (or process it effectively yourself), you pay less tax. It provides a direct financial incentive to invest in practices that produce good outcomes and avoid practices that produce bad ones.

    As with any system, the rules and related compliance “bureaucracy” exist, in part, to catch the cheaters…..so to the extent people were honourable, the system of compliance could be very cheap.

    I don’t think any other party has such a clear and coherent policy for providing the incentives you call for.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: