Rural round-up

02/02/2020

ETS legislation will increase costs for kiwis:

DairyNZ General Manager for Responsible Dairy Jenny Cameron is urging Parliament’s Environment Select Committee to carefully consider the implications ETS legislation could have on farms, families and communities and how they manage the impact of the transition to a low-emissions economy.

“We believe that the move to auctioning alongside the removal of the existing price cap is likely to result in a significant expansion to the revenue generated by the ETS and drive up costs” Ms Cameron said.

“The Bill could see emissions prices rise to $50 per tonne, which would mean emissions trading may be adding 14c to each litre of petrol and increasing power bills by up to 20%.

“While New Zealand farmers are not included in the ETS for their biological emissions, they are still included in the ETS for their emissions on things like power and fuel just like the rest of the country. . .

Oamaru Meats flat out – Sally Barker:

Oamaru Meats is flat out processing lambs, having regained its approval to export to China.

The company was shut down in mid-September last year after the Chinese Government suspended its permission to send beef. The situation was caused by beef fat packing that was not up to standard, director Richard Thorp said.

About 140 staff were stood down while Oamaru Meats, owned by China’s BX Foods, worked with New Zealand and Chinese authorities to reinstate the export access. . .

Mum is student winner’s role model :

Lincoln University student Ngahuia Wilson is this year’s Ravensdown Hugh Williams Memorial Scholarship winner.

Her commitment to the agri-sector, academic achievements, innovative thinking and passion shone through, Ravensdown said.

The $5000 scholarship is for Ravensdown shareholders’ sons and daughters studying for agriculture or horticulture degrees.

“It is going to open a lot of new doors and new paths to the things I’m passionate about,” Wilson said. . . 

New markets for new products – Neal Wallace:

Anzco has broadened the products it sells after research made possible by a Primary Growth Partnership. Neal Wallace reveals some of the new products and their uses that come from the carcase of a cattle beast.

Meat company Anzco has commercialised 26 new products as diverse as bones, blood and membranes for humans using research from a seven-year Primary Growth Partnership.

And its FoodPlus programme has identified more than 30 others and has a further eight ingredient and 10 healthcare products under consideration for commercialisation.

The $27 million Primary Growth Partnership is forecast to increase gross domestic product by $200m by 2030 and has increased jobs in the company by 102, many highly skilled and as diverse as advanced processing, technical product development and commercialisation. . . 

What about the potential of goat meat exports?  – Garrick Batten:

Long-time goat industry advocate Garrick Batten questions why NZ meat exporters have not capitalised on the inbuilt and growing Northern American demand for goat meat.

This is despite goat meat’s historically increasing prices. He also asks is why NZ pastoral farmers have not capitalised on the on-farm production advantages to produce that goat meat?

China already has the world’s biggest sheep flock; sheepmeat is well known so NZ product sales – especially mutton – have grown rapidly in recent years.

There are as many goats as sheep in China, all ending up as meat that is interchangeable with sheepmeat in the market. But our Chinese trade never mentions goat meat.  . . 

Tim Hortons pulls Beyond Meat off the menu, saying customers seem to prefer real meat – Michael Lewis:

Tim Hortons has pulled all Beyond Meat plant-based products from its restaurants less than a year after the national rollout, saying that its customers seemed to prefer the “meat option” in their sandwiches.

Under parent Restaurant Brands International Inc., Tim Hortons introduced breakfast sandwiches featuring a plant-based sausage patty in May of last year at nearly 4,000 locations, and then followed up with Beyond Meat burgers in July.

In September, the products were scaled back to Ontario and B.C. only, with the company saying that after some initial excitement, sales slowed as customers seemed to prefer the regular meat products. . . 

 


More tax, higher costs, fewer jobs

02/06/2014

The Green Party plans to impose a carbon tax on us:

. . . Co-leader Russel Norman wants to scrap the current carbon pricing system – the Emissions Trading Scheme.

In its place would be a tax of $25 per tonne of carbon on industry polluters. . .

Critics of the tax claim the tax is a burden on households, who pay higher electricity and fuel costs.

However, the Greens say their levy would be offset by a ”climate tax cut” on the first $2000 of income. 

”We can reduce our emissions without hurting household budgets,” he said. ”Households will be on average $319 better off every year under the Green party policy.” . .

Imposing a tax with one hand and giving a tax with another won’t make anyone better off because the tax will lead to other cost increases on fuel, power and food which will passed on, in part or full, to consumers.

Agriculture – which is currently exempt from the ETS – would pay a reduced rate of $12.50 per tonne. This works out as an 12.5 per cent hit on farmers’ income. This includes 2 per cent on the working expenses of the average farm. A Berl Economics report, released with the policy, said dairying will be ”adversely affected.”

Dairying won’t just be adversely affected by the carbon tax, it will be hit by other Green policies too.

But it adds: ”However, at the currently projected pay-out for milk solids, even dairy farms in the lowest decile would remain well above break even in the face of an emissions levy.”

What happens when the payout drops to its long-term average which is well below the $7 forecast for the coming season?

What about the environmental impact of less efficient farmers in other countries increasing production because our produce is more expensive which makes it easier to compete with us?

And what about the poor people who will face higher prices for dairy products, power and fuel?

Other gas-emitting industries – such as electricity and road fuels – are less likely to be affected because they would be able to ”pass-on any production cost increases to households.” . . .

That will be the households whose earners will be getting a tax cut, the benefit of which will be less than the cost increases from the extra tax.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said the levy may threaten jobs. 

“Our approach should be unlocking business solutions rather taxing business more,” he said. 

As a “small open trading economy” New Zealand should participate in international emissions trading schemes.

Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills said the tax will make dairy farmers “less competitive” in international markets. . .

Less competitive means lower returns which means less export income which means less economic growth which means we’ll be less able to fund the first world education, health and other services we need.

However green they want to paint it, this is a red policy which will add costs, put downwards pressure on wages and threaten jobs.

Bernard Hickey told last week’s  Alliance Group Pure South conference that the election will be close.

He then went on to list the policies that farmers could expect to adversely affect them under a Labour/Green coalition with whichever other left-wing parties they’d need to govern.

They included: capital gains tax, compulsory KiwiSaver and water restrictions and charges.

Those are three very good reasons to vote National and the Green carbon tax is another.

And Steven Joyce points out some inconvenient truths:

 

 

 


Including ag emissions in ETS red not green

29/07/2013

Federated farmers’ president Bruce Wills explains why including agricultural emissions in an ETS isn’t good policy:

In every other country, putting farm biological emissions in an ETS type-framework is as alien as Richie McCaw donning the green and gold and singing Advance Australia Fair.

Take this golden Daily Mail headline in Britain from last year: “Buy New Zealand lamb to save the planet.” Then in May came the UK’s Observer with: “Why worrying about food miles is missing the point.” . . .

We would argue that inclusion penalises us for being good farmers that will only leak carbon to less efficient countries. Where’s the global good in that?

As Jay Rayner put it to his British readers when comparing apples with, well, apples: “The researchers found that the actual weight of nitrogen fertiliser used was roughly similar in both countries (80kg per hectare in NZ to 78kg in the UK).

“However, in New Zealand they were getting a yield of 50 tonnes per hectare, as against 14 tonnes in Britain. Where lamb was concerned yield was higher in the UK than New Zealand, but so was nitrogen fertiliser use by a factor of more than 13.

“New Zealand simply has a better landscape and climate for rearing lamb and apples.”

This doesn’t fit with the radical red anti-trade agenda which would take us back centuries to when almost all food was grown locally.

Letting New Zealand farmers do what we do best and shipping the produce half way round the world is being better for the environment than buying local in Britain.

A tax which would reduce production here and increase where they can’t farm as efficiently as we can, as including agricultural emissions in an ETS would,  is red policy not green.


Give a little take a lot

22/04/2013

The LabourGreen power play is supposed to save people money.

It is unlikely to do so in isolation and certainly won’t when other policies are taken into account.

Claims that households would save money on power under a Greens-Labour Government are demonstrably false, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says.

“When National was elected to Government in November 2008, Labour’s Emissions Trading Scheme was estimated to cost an average family of four around $330 a year based on a carbon price of $25/tonne,” Mr Joyce says.

“The National Government amended the ETS and more than halved the cost to families and businesses. However the Greens-Labour coalition have stated publicly as recently as the beginning of this year that if they were the Government they would increase the price of carbon to $50/tonne.

“This would see a family of four paying $495 extra a year on electricity and fuel; which would more than wipe out any of their claimed savings from their plan to nationalise the power supply.

“They need to answer for their policy inconsistency before making any claims about power savings to the New Zealand public.

“The reality is that under a Greens-Labour ETS – or carbon tax – and the so-called power ‘plan’ it announced this week, households and businesses would be paying significantly more for electricity and fuel.

“And the worst part is that there would be fewer jobs for New Zealanders. As we already heard from firms like JB Were, investment in New Zealand would dry up as a result of government effectively nationalising such a big industry.

“What the opposition either doesn’t know, or doesn’t want to understand, is that savers and investors in this day and age can choose which country to invest in. This Government is working hard to attract investment and jobs for New Zealanders by applying good quality regulation that encourages competition, new investment and jobs. This sort of policy would do the exact opposite.”

Like many other socialist policies, the LabourGreen power play would give a little with one hand while taking a lot with the other.


Rural round-up

18/02/2013

Call for tighter rules – Gerald Piddock:

Federated Farmers is demanding the rules for importing palm kernel expeller (PKE) be tightened.

This comes after two members of the group’s grain and seed executive observed massive breaches of the New Zealand import health standards for importing 

Federated Farmers is demanding the rules for importing palm kernel expeller (PKE) be tightened.

This comes after two members of the group’s grain and seed executive observed massive breaches of the New Zealand import health standards for importing PKE into New Zealand during a visit to a Malaysian PKE crushing plant.

Mid Canterbury farmer David Clark along with Whakatane farmer Colin MacKinnon visited the country in September last year.

They detailed the breaches along with several recommendations to improve New Zealand’s biosecurity process in a report they submitted to the Ministry for Primary Industries last year.

into New Zealand during a visit to a Malaysian PKE crushing plant.

Mid Canterbury farmer David Clark along with Whakatane farmer Colin MacKinnon visited the country in September last year.

They detailed the breaches along with several recommendations to improve New Zealand’s biosecurity process in a report they submitted to the Ministry for Primary Industries last year. . .

Irrigation scheme on target -Gerald Piddock:

The first of the giant ponds at the Rangitata South Irrigation scheme could be filled by the end of the month, as construction of the project continues.

Workers were one third of the way through lining the surface of the first of the ponds, Rooney Earth Moving general manager Colin Dixon said.

The plastic lining came in large rolls that were unwrapped and the edges were then joined together.

“It’s like a sewing machine, it runs up the seam really slowly and melts them together,” Mr Dixon said.

He estimated it would take four to six weeks to line each pond. The ponds were lined one after the other, rather than all at the same time. As soon as one pond is lined, it can be filled with water. . .

Time to merge ag unis?- Marie Taylor and Rebecca Harper:

Merging agriculture courses offered at Lincoln and Massey universities is one way to make better use of limited resources, Beef + Lamb chairman Mike Petersen says.

It emerged last week that Lincoln was undertaking a major review of its qualifications.

It is the country’s smallest university, with 3500 full-time equivalent students, and has faced a series of financial losses in the past few years. It had a $5 million loss last year and a $5m loss is budgeted for this year.

Lincoln wants to reduce the number of undergraduate degrees it offers from 13 to three land-based three-year degrees, with a common first year. . .

The carbon-neutral dairy farm, is it possible? – Milking the Moove:

What does a dairy farmer have to do to become carbon neutral?

There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the prospect of agriculture being included into New Zealand’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). 

So I thought to my self, what would a dairy farmer need to do to become carbon neutral?

But first, why would a farmer what to be carbon neutral?

Some may say because it’s the right thing to do for the environment.

Others will want to eliminate any tax paid on the carbon they emit. 

Other people will say that, being carbon neutral gives that farmer a wonderful point of difference in which to differentiate their products.

In order to avoid getting into a debate about whether climate change is real or not, I’m going to approach this from the marketing angle. . . .

Sector pins hopes on golden fleece – Tim Cronshaw:

A golden yarn developed by Kiwi scientists and containing pure gold is expected to be sold to wealthy buyers of luxury carpets, rugs and furnishings.

Unlike the golden fleece in Greek mythology the yarn and completed woollen products will not have a golden colour at this stage.

The Aulana-branded wool has been developed by Professor Jim Johnston and Dr Kerstin Lucas of Victoria University after $3 million of research and development.

A tiny amount of pure gold is combined with wool and the chemistry between the two causes it to bond and produce the colours of purple, grey and blue.

The range is expected to be extended and include a golden hue later. . .

Shearers busy as farmers heed market – Tim Cronshaw:

Canterbury shearers have gone into overdrive after an unexpected surge in sheep needing to be shorn.

The December to early February stint is usually quiet for shearing, but an influx of lambs and cull ewes needing their fleece removed put the pressure on shearers during the hot spell, when temperatures soared above 30 degrees in shearing sheds.

Farmers appear to have moved quickly in line with lower lamb prices and this acted as a catalyst for more shearing.

January was expected to be a slow month for shearing, but only in the last week has the pace slowed, said Barry Pullin,  an owner of Pullin Shearing, and chairman for the New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association. . . .


Kyoto is the past

11/11/2012

Quote of the day from Climate Change Minister Tim Groser:

“Kyoto is the past”, he said. “The future rests on getting countries outside Kyoto to start doing something serious about climate change.”

He said it would be wrong to tie the hands of a future New Zealand government for eight years while a single new treaty is negotiated.

The Kyoto Protocol was the triumph of politics and bureaucracy over science and reason.

It was a lot more about being seen to do something than actually making a difference.

It was riddled with inconsistencies and its one-rule-fits-all approach

The best thing done to address climate change is not anything achieved through the ETS imposed under Kyoto but the  New Zealand-initiated Global Research Alliance on agriculture greenhouse gases.

Instead of the tax-it approach taken by Kyoto and its supporters this initiative brings countries together to find ways to increase food production while minimising emissions.

Kyoto and its supporters take a negative approach, the Global Alliance takes a positive one.


Farmers face ‘perfect policy tsunami’

30/08/2012

Farmers would face a perfect policy tsunami in the agricultural policies of a Labour-Greens government, Federated Farmers vice-president Dr William Rolleston said.

This tsunami included adding agricultural emissions to the ETS, resource rentals for water, land and water plans put out by regional councils around the country and a capital gains tax. 

 It was not unreasonable to think a Labour-Greens government would be formed in 2014, he told farmers and scientists at a forum at Lincoln on the emissions trading scheme organised by the New Zealand Institute on Agricultural and Horticultural Science. 

 “We cannot sustain a tsunami of policies that drowns agriculture in a sea of red ink,” he said.

He gave examples of costs a Labour-Greens government would impose on farming including $40,000 a year if agriculture was forced into the ETS.

MAF modelling showed that had agriculture been in the ETS sheep farmers would have made surpluses in only two of the last four years and those surpluses would have been $4000 and $468.

Water resource rentals would add to costs, turning small profits into big losses.

   All of New Zealand farms would be foreign-owned and all would be dairying because it would be the only way for land owners to achieve an economic return, he said. 

Dr Rolleston also spoke of the extreme nutrient limits being set in land and water plans which would drive production levels down to those of hobby farms.   

    It could also trigger a banking crisis as the reality of digesting these policies all at once could sink the economy. Farmers would walk off their land and the banks would face a $48 billion write down of the debt owed to them in the rural sector. 

    “Foreign buyers funded by foreign banks would be the winners,” Dr Rolleston said. 

    Opposition to genetic modification meant the agricultural sector was being denied the tools to address its environmental responsibilities in the short timeframe demanded by environmentalists. 

    “It’s vital that the Greens and Labour wake up to the risks this policy tsunami imposes to the entire economy.”

This is strong speaking from the vice-president of an organisation which is non-partisan but it is not an exaggeration.

The Timaru Herald reports on farmers’ fears of needing consent to farm under Environment Canterbury’s land and water plan.

Farmers in other regions have similar concerns and if they are worried now they will be even more so under a Labour-Greens government.

I listened to an Opposition MP speak at a seminar recently.

It was under Chatham House rules so I cannot give any details. But I will say it left all of us listening with exactly the same view Dr Rolleston has on the devastating impact a Labour-Greens government would have not just on farming but the wider economy and society too.


ETS imposes cost on food production

04/07/2012

The left are continually complaining about the cost of food.

But they are also criticising the government for taking a cautious approach to the Emissions Trading Scheme which would impose extra costs on food production.

Those who produce the food understand the damage it would do to their industries and the costs to consumers by forcing agriculture into the scheme before 2015 – or later if our trading partners don’t include agriculture in their schemes.

Federated farmers reminds us it is only biological emissions which are exempt.

“All farms and orchards have been in the ETS since July 1, 2010 – farms pay the  ETS on fuel and electricity, they pay it indirectly through the supply chain on  things as diverse as processing costs, animal remedies, wire netting, fencing,  feed and fertiliser.”

Dairy NZ says:

The Government’s confirmation that it will defer the entry of agricultural emissions into the ETS until at least 2015, pending a review to assess whether such technologies exist, is sensible and pragmatic, says DairyNZ General Manager Policy and Advocacy Simon Tucker.

“DairyNZ’s position is that agricultural emissions should not be included in the ETS until practical, economically viable mitigation technologies are available under farm-level conditions,” Mr Tucker says.

“We are pleased to see the Government take a considered view of where our country sits, relevant to our trading partners, to ensure we can make progress while still being competitive.”

“The dairy industry is committed to a strategy of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions intensity and maintaining its position as world leaders in low carbon intensity dairy production.

“New Zealand’s dairy sector is working through the challenge of finding practical ways to reduce our emissions by investing heavily in research.

“To-date our investment in dairy farm system research shows it is quite possible to make good progress in this area by making efficiency improvements on farms. But we do not yet have a reliable silver bullet.

“DairyNZ alone invests nearly $1m each year into reducing methane and other agricultural gas emissions through funding the world-leading science being carried out by the Pastoral Green House Gas Research Consortium (PGgRC).

“A similar amount of funding is being invested into a seven year DairyNZ-led research project where dairy cows are being evaluated to see how efficiently they can convert feed into milk while reducing emissions.

“DairyNZ has also maintained that New Zealand’s dairy farmers should not face a price on carbon until our trading competitors face similar and equivalent obligations. 

“It’s appropriate that this is also a factor in the Government’s 2014 review.

Dairying is one of the food producing industries which would face huge costs if the ETS was imposed on it. Greenhouse vegetable growers would also face very high costs and they too welcome the government’s latest announcement:

Wim Zwart, Chair of Tomatoes New Zealand, said that the move would be widely welcomed by the country’s greenhouse vegetable growers.

“The decision to extend transitional measures designed to reduce the initial cost impacts of the scheme beyond 2012 is particularly welcome,” said Mr Zwart.

“The ETS has had a major impact on production costs for many of New Zealand’s hothouse tomatoes growers, making them less competitive against those overseas growers who are not facing carbon costs.”

There are over 200 tomato growers in New Zealand who produce standard and specialty fresh tomatoes with a farm gate value of $90 million per annum. In 2011 the tomato export market was valued at approximately $15 million.

“This is a common sense decision that will allow our growers to continue to expand and grow the commercial export market,” added Mr Zwart.

“Many hothouse tomato growers have been investigating and introducing innovative measures to reduce emissions. This will provide them with some short term certainty around production costs and some more time to prepare for the long-term impacts of ETS.”

Food producers are putting large amounts of money into research in an effort to find cost-effective ways to reduce emissions.

Some progress is being made. Scientists at Waikato University are looking at how enzymes in the rumen might be manipulated to make dairy cows more productive and reduce the greenhouse gases they produce.

But they are a long way from finding something which can be used on farms.

Until that and other research produces results that can be widely applied there is nothing at all to be gained  by imposing extra costs on the industry and ultimately consumers.


Ag entry to ETS postponed to 2015

03/07/2012

Changes to the ETS announced by the government are designed to maintain incentives for emission reductions, without loading large extra costs onto households, employers and exporters.

“Today’s decisions are a reflection of the balanced and responsible approach this Government has taken to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  They offer Kiwi exporters, employers and households certainty in a challenging and changing world economy,” Climate Change Issues Minister Tim Groser says. . .

“We have considered in-depth the recommendations of the ETS Review Panel, listened to what those affected by the ETS are saying, and reviewed what our trading partners are doing.  We also considered feedback through community consultation, including written submissions, a series of regional meetings, and hui.

“The National-led Government remains committed to doing its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it is worth noting that we are the only country outside Europe with a comprehensive ETS.  In these times of uncertainty, the Government has opted not to pile further costs on to households and the productive sector.

“The Government remains an active and engaged participant in the on-going discussions focused on global agreements, and the changes announced today offer us useful flexibility to adapt in the future, while still demonstrating our commitment to doing our fair share,” says Mr Groser.

Not surprisingly the left reckon this is disastrous.

However, Business NZ says the government has taken a reasonably balanced approach to carbon pricing in its amendments.

The protections – companies having to surrender carbon units for only half the carbon they emit, and a cap of $25 per tonne in the price of emissions –recognise the fact that New Zealand is ahead of most of the world in accepting a price on carbon.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly says the changes will maintain incentives for emissions reduction while shoring up New Zealand companies’ ability to compete against companies in other countries.

“The move recognises the financial constraints not only on businesses but also on consumers.  It guards against increases in the price of electricity and fuel that would otherwise occur because of an unequal international playing field.

“This is not a softening of the ETS.  The changes announced today will not reduce the costs currently faced by New Zealand business and consumers.

“We should remember that the current cost of carbon, although relatively low, is still more than is being faced by our trade competitors, and will doubtless increase as the global economy recovers.

“While these amendments do not make the environment harder for business, neither do they make it easier.  Moreover the frequent reviewing of the scheme’s design also loads uncertainty costs onto New Zealand business.

 Federated Farmers says the changes, which include delaying the entry of agriculture into the scheme, are one step towards reality:

The New Zealand Emissions Trading scheme (ETS) has taken a big step towards forward, yet remains the harshest treatment of any agricultural production system on earth.

“The Government realises even tougher measures would hurt not just agriculture but the wider economy,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President and climate change spokesperson.

“Both our Chief Executive, Conor English, at the Rio+20 Earth Summit  and our President, Bruce Wills, at the World Farmers Organisation, got the same message; targeting primary food production in ETS-type policies is anathema to sustainable primary food production.

“In a world preoccupied with the survival of their economies and with food security, there is no point in trying to lead where others will not follow.

“Yes biological emissions account for some 47 percent of New Zealand’s emissions profile.  They also represent 68.1 percent of our merchandise exports and indeed, 100 percent of the food we eat. 

“New Zealand is able to not only feed itself, but produces enough food to feed populations equivalent of Sri Lanka. 

“This is why it is positive the Government has listened to Federated Farmers and will keep agricultural biological emissions out of the ETS until at least 2015. 

“We have retained the one-for-two surrender obligation we asked for, along with the $25 fixed price option. Federated Farmers also wanted offsetting for pre-1990 forests and opposed the reduction of pre-1990 forest allocations. The Government has listened to that too, but those who do offset will be penalised. 

“We are pleased the Government has chosen not to further complicate matters by imposing additional restrictions on the importation of overseas emissions units.

“Despite what some Opposition parties are likely to say following these changes, our ETS remains the harshest on any agricultural production system, anywhere in the world. 

“Unlike other countries where agriculture is given special treatment, farmers here, just like every other business and family, pay the ETS on the fuel and energy we use.  This not only impacts a farm’s bottom line, but the cost of turning what we produce into finished goods for export.   

“Australia’s new Carbon Tax is really aimed at Australia’s 300 largest companies.  Meanwhile, Australian farmers are being financially rewarded for boosting soil carbon levels on-farm. 

“Since 1 January, all agricultural processors in New Zealand have been filing emission returns accounting for agricultural biological emissions.  We are still counting emissions no other government is contemplating, including our cousins across the Tasman.

“While agriculture emissions here grew 9.4 percent between 1990 and 2010, the dollar value these generated for NZ Inc exploded almost five-fold.  Our sector’s emission growth needs to be put into context alongside a 59 percent increase in electricity emissions and 60 percent for transport.

“What’s more former Labour Cabinet Minister, the Hon David Caygill, found emissions in every single unit of agricultural product have fallen some 1.3 percent each year, for the past 20 years. 

“We do not need an ETS to improve our productivity.  Global competition has done that for us. 

“That New Zealand’s farmers are among the world’s most carbon efficient, is an inconvenient truth New Zealanders are not hearing from Opposition politicians. 

“We can do more but that will be through productivity gains and research leadership exemplified by the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.

“In a world of increasing food deficit, our hope is for Opposition parties to realise being a carbon efficient food exporter is global leadership,” Dr Rolleston concluded.

The Kyoto Protocol was the triumph of politics and bureaucracy over science and negotiations have yet to reach agreement on its successor.

There is nothing to be gained for the environment and a lot to be lost from the economy if agriculture is forced into the scheme when none of our competitors faces similar costs.


Ag safe from ETS under National

16/09/2011

The Emissions Trading Scheme Review Panel’s report – Doing New Zealand’s Fair Share – recommends the implementation of the scheme be slowed down.

In releasing the report, Environment Minister Nick Smith points out the tension between the amount and speed of emissions reductions and the amount households and businesses are willing to pay.

“The current ETS legislation has the energy, transport and industrial sectors stepping up to a full obligation in 2013. The Report’s recommendation to slow this by phasing it in three steps in 2013, 2014 and 2015 would ease the price impact on households and businesses. The Report notes this slower timetable would not detract from investment in low-carbon technologies like renewable energy generation as they have quite long lead times.

“The recommendation to slow down the entry of agriculture by a more gradual introduction is also well considered. The Government does not support the introduction of agricultural emissions into the ETS before 2015. The Government also needs to consider the advice of the Agricultural ETS Advisory Committee on the practical implementation challenges. Agricultural emissions will only be included if practical technologies are available to enable farmers to reduce their emissions and more progress is made by our trading partners on measures to reduce emissions.

Forcing agriculture to adopt the ETS before our trading partners do and unless there are practical ways to reduce emissions would be economic sabotage for no environmental gain.

Federated Farmers points out that agriculture is working to reduce emissions:

It is good to get positive recognition that over the past 20 years, agriculture has reduced emissions per unit of product by 1.3 percent per annum,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President and its climate change spokesperson.

“What’s more farmers, through our industry levies, contribute around $18 million towards pastoral greenhouse research. We’re not sitting on our hands.

“The key challenge for any government planning to enrol biological emissions into the ETS is to address the economic and practical ramifications.

“Right now, the entire primary sector contributes some 70 percent of all the physical exports we sell in order to pay our way in the world.

 “Farmers will be extremely pleased that Minister Smith has reaffirmed a pledge Government has given to Federated Farmers, that biological emissions will not be included in the ETS, if our trading partners do not follow suit.

“The Government is to be congratulated for this. It is also to be congratulated for recognising that farmers, despite the research investment, lack the practical means to reduce emissions.

“Any tools available are too variable or immature to meet the needs of farmers. Long term solutions, such as vaccines and genetics, are several decades away from commercial deployment.

“This is not thumbing our nose at an international commitment. It is a realistic and pragmatic assessment of the real world, where food security is emerging as a pressing global concern.

“Federated Farmers would like to see this policy commitment put into amending legislation after the General Election.

“Today’s review and the Government’s response to it, should provide farmers with a huge degree of confidence,” Dr Rolleston concluded.

That confidence requires the re-election of a National-led government.

If Labour and the Green party are in power agriculture will be forced into the ETS at huge cost for no benefit.

None of our trading partners show the slightest intention of including agriculture in their schemes and science has yet to come up with practical ways of reducing emissions from animals.


Is Labour out-greening the Greens?

16/08/2011

Labour Leader Phil Goff was given points for turning up to Federated Farmers’ conference in a column in Feds’ Farm Review (not online) but the columnist wasn’t impressed with his message:

It doesn’t warm the belly that farmers will be ramrodded into the ETS to pay for R&D to research ‘cultural capital’. Goff has ripped the gust from any pretence the ETS is about efficient resource use because if farmers get better then ETS funded R&D collapses.

Any payments taken under the ETS not used to reduce emissions are merely another tax.

Labour’s ‘jump to the left’ increasingly resembles an essay by a first year political studies student. A capital gains tax on farms, repeal of the 90-days and GST free fruit and veg may appeal to the unions and the indolent, but not to the go-getters this economy needs. Then again Labour is electorally desperate.

Expect a land tax and crippling policies on the environment as Labour out-greens the Greens. It says a lot that Russel Norman was more warming received by farmers than Goff.

The Green Party has always out-redded Labour.

Perhaps Labour thinks there’s votes to be gained in out-greening the Greens.


No need for another investigation into milk price

24/06/2011

The Ministries of Agriculture and Economic Development and Treasury havelaunched a second probe into Fonterra’s pricing of milk.

They could save themselves a lot of time and effort by reading the National Bank’s Agrifocus which says :

On the face of it, it seems the rise in the price of fresh milk can be largely explained by the increase in international dairy prices and on-farm costs. Furthermore, the increase in fresh milk prices has not been out of step with the increase in the price of other staples. Its per unit cost when compared to other substitutes is particularly curious as it takes a considerable amount of money to produce, collect, transport, process and manufacture, store, ship and keep cool. In many cases milk is a far superior, nutrient–rich product.

If price increases alone are the precursor to an inquiry, then we would seem to need a lot of inquiries into other areas! Of course this will not be the case. The real issue is how economic agents adjust to the realities of a rising trend in real commodity prices – a reverse of the trend seen over the prior century.  New Zealand benefits hugely from such a trend, though there is a consumer cost along the way.

We export food and those exports are one of the few bright spots in the economy at the moment.

When demand and prices are high on international markets the price increases on the domestic market.

That doesn’t make it easy for people struggling on tight budgets but the problem isn’t high export prices it’s low incomes.

The report looked at the  rising cost of milk must be considered in conjunction with comparable movements in other staples and substitutes; rising input costs at the different levels of the supply chain; and international dairy prices.

Looking at the price movements of key foodstuffs over a 10 year period shows that the price of fresh milk has increased by 36 percent over this period, or 3.6 percent per annum. Over the same 10–year period, the headline inflation rate has risen 31 percent. Interestingly though, the price of different types of meats, bread and other dairy products, such as cheese, have all increased more than fresh milk over the last 10 years! The price of sheepmeat is the front-runner, increasing 73 percent over the last 10 years, over twice the rate of headline inflation.  There is some irony in this.  Economists normally point to competition as a way of keeping a lid on prices and there is certainly a lot of competition in the sheepmeat industry, so much in fact that people are calling for consolidation! So here we have an industry that has more competition and fragmentation than the dairy sector, which has seen higher price rises!  Of course, the underlying causes of price movements are far more extensive than that (i.e. reduced sheep numbers has led prices higher) but we still thought it worth noting.

Prices have gone up but let’s put it in perspective. A comparison with other liquid products (which don’t have the nutirtional benefits milk does) shows:

 It costs $1.84 for a standard litre of milk, $2.73 for a litre of bottled water, $1.52 for a litre of fizzy, $1.92 for fruit juice and $5.12 for a litre of beer (according to Statistics New Zealand).The price differential between milk and water is particularly curious in a country such as New Zealand where it is fine to drink water out of the tap.

In addition, we are trying to move up the value–added chain as an exporting nation but sometimes bemoan some brand–based products.  The suggestion that some branded milk products are priced too high seems perverse when we have constantly been told by various commentators, academics and successive governments that we need to build brands and market our products to add greater value (i.e. extract more money out of consumer wallets).  Especially when you consider the tap water/branded water differential!  It would be nonsensical to suggest that dairy companies should build brands offshore but not try to do the same in the domestic market. The discontent at the price of branded milk products seems to go against all the business principles that various individuals have preached over the last 20 years. And there is always the simple fact that if you cannot afford the branded product you can always purchase the unbranded one, which particularly in the case of fresh milk is very close in quality and content.

The other factor which impacts on the milk price is the cost of production.

Dairy farm total input prices have increased by nearly 34 percent, 3 percent more than aggregate consumer prices, and 2 percent less than the price increase for fresh milk.This would, on the face of it, seem to explain nearly all the observed milk price increase over the past 10 years. Ultimately, a complete examination would include other parts of the supply chain, notably the dairy processing sector, the two New Zealand supermarket chains and local dairies. This analysis would include margin and cost movements, but because of commercial sensitivity, it is difficult for us to obtain a complete dataset that would allow a full assessment for fresh milk.

Eleven of the 17 farm working expenditure categories have increased more than the price of milk.

The main culprits are fuel and electricity, which have increased a whopping 92 and 87 percent respectively over the last 10 years, or 9.2 and 8.7 percent respectively year-on-year.

One of the reasons fuel and electricity prices have increased is the imposition of the ETS. If Labour acts on its threat to force farmers to pay additional ETS levies it will impact on the price of milk.


A tax by anyother name stinks of political opportunism

12/06/2011

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.


Rural party would make matters worse for rural people

31/05/2010

NZ Farmers Weekly reports that opposition to the ETS is fuelling discussions on the formation of a rural party.

It’s only talk and I hope it stops there because it would do more harm than good.

Rural people are not only a minority, we’re diverse. The only thing which unites us is geography – we don’t live in towns or cities – and that isn’t enough on which to base a viable political party.

The Outdoor Recreation Party should serve as a warning.

In spite of the hundreds of thousands of people who enjoy the great outdoors it got nowhere at its first election. It then merged with United Future which went backwards at the next election.

I understand the opposition to the ETS and until recently I might have supported it. But I’ve accepted the fact that it is now law which will come into effect on July 1.

A show of hands at the National Party’s Northern convention yesterday suggests that is the majority view. A discussion on the issue, which showed strong opposition, concluded with a request for a show of hands on whether the ETS should be delayed. I reckoned fewer than a third of the delegates put their hands up for a delay and Audrey Young thinks it was only 20%.

I suspect that 20% was more rural than urban but that’s not grounds for trying to form a rural party.

It wouldn’t be difficult to muster the 500 people needed to form a party, they might even get a few candidates willing to go to the expense and trouble of standing for parliament. If they did they are more likely to take votes from National than any other party and what would that achieve?

At best a weaker National led government. At worst a Labour led one which would include a strong Green element. Both those parties’  plans for the ETS are more radical and expensive than National’s and their other policies are a lot less rural-friendly too.

Those opposing the implementation of the ETS are making a lot of noise but they don’t have the numbers and strong as the anti-ETS is it’s not enough to make a foundation on which to build a viable political party which would be able to make a positive difference to rural people.


Higher costs is the point – updated

27/05/2010

Complaints that the ETS will impose higher costs on us seem to have missed the point – that’s what it’s supposed to do.

Imposing higher costs on activities which cause emissions is designed to provide an incentive to change behaviour which will lead to reduced emissions.

Matt Nolan at The Visible Hand in Economics puts it simply:

 Even if you don’t believe in global warming, we have a liability that is based on carbon emissions.  As a nation, either people who produce the carbon pay for it – or everyone pays for it through higher taxes.

So here in lies the question – do we want higher prices for carbon goods or lower incomes because of higher taxes?  Given that the liability is a function of the amount of carbon we produce, it follows that pricing carbon on the basis of this will lead to the “best” solution – no matter what political party you support.

If the cost of something rises, it doesn’t follow that consumers’ costs will increase by the same amount.

If the price of fuel and power go up, we have a choice about paying the increase or using less. Saving fuel and power will save money. 

Using less energy and using what we do use more efficiently makes economic and environmental sense whether or not you think the climate is changing.

UPDATE:

Scrubone gets it and Kiwiblog’s post on Matt’s post has generated lots of comments.


It’s time to accept the ETS and make it work for us

26/05/2010

Federated Farmers is continuing its campaign against the ETS and I think that’s a mistake.The interview on Checkpoint (at 18:09) with Federated Farmers President Don Nicolson did their cause little good.

He’s correct that only the biological component of agriculture are exempt, at least for now. But any other cost increases in the likes of power and fuel will fall on everyone, not just farmers.

Until recently I might have agreed with continuing to campaign against the ETS but for some time I’ve been thinking it’s time to stop fighting it and make it work for us.

This was confirmed at the National Party’s Mainland conference at the weekend.

The ETS has been the hot – no pun intended – issue at regional conferences. In acknowledgement of that  Minister for Climate Change Issues Nick Smith changed his speech from water issues to deliver a speech entitled Our national interests and the ETS.

He started by acknowledging the debate over the science, econmics and international politics of who should do what, when. Then explained why New Zealand was going to introduce transport, electricity and industrial sectors into the modified ETS.

 He started with the science:

We don’t claim a consensus or a perfect scientific understanding of the earth’s climate system. But we are satisfied that enough is known to be of concern and that action is justified to curb our growth in emissions. This is about sound risk management. New Zealanders expect governments to prudently manage risk of phenomena like earthquakes. We all pay EQC levies even though we may not need the billions that have been collected. We see managing the risk of climate change in a similar context.

Then came the politics:

The international politics of this issue is as hard as the science. Two stark facts dominate the global debate. 80% of the increase to date has been caused by developed countries that make up only 20% of the population. This is why there is such a rigid position from developing countries that we must move first to curb our emissions.

They say: “You caused the problem, you’re wealthier, you need to take the lead”. It’s on this basis that Kyoto was stitched together.

But there is an equally compelling statistic on the future. More than 80% of the increase in emissions this century will come from developing countries. That’s why countries such as China, India and Brazil are pivotal to the post-Kyoto framework.

 And then there’s domestic politics:

 Labour’s scheme would have doubled costs, required the early entry of agriculture and given less support for industry.

 We have Labour and the Greens arguing our ETS is too soft, too slow, and too generous to business. . . 

 ACT has championed the cause of the Kyoto forest owners. They argue that carbon credits are a “property right”, “belonging to those who planted them” and must not be “confiscated”. That’s fair enough, but paying these out is set to cost about $1.6 billion over the Kyoto period until 2013. It’s odd then for ACT to argue the carbon debits that rest with emitters under Kyoto through to 2013 don’t belong to them and must be paid for entirely by the taxpayer. This is the ‘socialise your losses, capitalise your gains’ ETS. It is a recipe for a Greek-style fiscal tragedy.

 Why is starting soon in our interests?

 The sooner we start, the easier the transition will be; it will protect our green brand and market access and encourage afforestation and renewable energy.

 While Labour was in power 56% of new energy generation built was thermal, only 44% was renewable. Since National came to power 80% of consent applications have been for renewable energy.

 The price signals the ETS sends are crucial for foresters.

New Zealand lost 30,000 hectares of trees in Labour’s last four years in office, more than in any period since records began in the 1930s. Their confusing and shifting policies on the ETS contributed to this. Again, like electricity these are long-term investments that need certainty. In 2009, the deforestation stopped and there was a small gain in forest area of 500 hectares. Forester’s intentions indicate increased plantings of 4700 hectares this year, 5700 hectares next year, and still more of 7700 hectares in 2012. This confidence will be lost if we blink on the ETS, yet these plantings are crucial to New Zealand’s long-term climate change targets.

National campaigned amending the ETS in 2009 and introducing it this year. 

We’ve halved the cost to businesses and consumers. We’ve slowed the pace, deferring sector entry dates. We’ve removed the disincentives for businesses to grow and ensured that small and medium businesses are not discriminated against in the allocations to trade exposed businesses. We’ve put regular reviews in the law in 2011 and regularly thereafter so we can reassess our approach relative to international progress and the latest science.

 National promised foresters would receive credits for trees planted since 1989 and the country signed and ratified the Kyoto protocol. Without an ETS we’d miss our reduction  target by 11 million tonnes.

 There are alternative measures to meet our commitments:

You could regulate and tell citizens what sort of light bulbs they must use, how much water they can have in their shower, what sort of cars they can buy and tell business what sort of power plants they must build. An ETS encourages emissions reductions without reverting to a Nanny State.

All advice New Zealand has received says that  the Australian approach would cost more and achieve less. 

The crucial point here is that countries face a Kyoto cost either as taxpayers or as emitters, and all of the economic advice is that it is more efficient and cost effective to put the cost on those who can do something about how much they emit.

New Zealand is not leading the world. In the EU emission s are 10 tonne per capita and here they’re 18 tonnes. The EU’s emissions have dropped 9% since 1999, ours have increased by 24%. (I accept that a good deal of our increase is from agriculture, most of the production of which is exported). The EU scheme started five years ago and covers 43% of emissions, ours which is due to start in July covers only 23%.

The claim of New Zealand leading the world would be true if we were insisting on implementing an all gases, all sectors scheme on 1 July. We’re not. The scheme only provides for a half-obligation. Our plans to move to a full obligation in 2013 and to include additional sectors are conditional on progress being made internationally. We’ve got reviews of the ETS in our legislation scheduled for 2011 and regularly thereafter. A key test will be in ensuring New Zealand does not carry an unfair burden of the cost of constraining emissions and that our approach takes the least cost way of meeting our international obligations.

National has halved the costs Labour’s scheme would have imposed:

The cost to an average dairy farm of the fuel, power and processing impacts of the ETS is 0.5% of returns. The ETS will impose less cost on the average farmer than a 0.1% increase in interest rates.

And there are opportunities for farmers to make savings.

The obvious way a farmer could offset the cost of the ETS for the average farm is to plant on unproductive areas of the farm in forest. An area of only 6 hectares would offset the 1 July 2010 electricity and power costs of the ETS.

There are many new technologies available to reduce on farm energy costs. For example, the installation of heat pump technology in the dairy shed can deliver more than $2000 a year in savings in electricity. Studies of irrigation also show thousands of dollars of savings from modest efficiency improvements in systems.

Households could also become more energy efficient and make savings from that:

For instance just correcting the tyre pressure on the average car can save $130 per year. Changing driving habits for the average motorist can save $300 a year. The Government is helping to offset the ETS cost for a household by providing an $1800 home insulation grant and a $1000 grant for solar hot water systems. These would each save an average household $400 a year in energy costs, greatly exceeding the ETS costs of a $165 per home.

One reason our emissions have increased in the past two decades is mixed messages and an inconsistent approach.

Businesses and the economy need a steady and consistent approach, and that’s what your Government is delivering.

We Kiwis value our clean green brand and want to be part of the solution, and not the problem, on climate change. We don’t want to lead the world in emissions growth anymore than leading the world in emissions cuts. We know we need to be planting more trees. We know we should be building more renewable power stations. And we know we should be investing more in energy efficiency. Doing nothing is not an option. Our very moderate ETS is the sensible way for a National government to make progress.

A PDF of the power point slides is here. The ODT and Oamaru Mail reported on the speech and Stephen Franks posted on a similar speech delivered to the Central North Island conference and gives his views.

The whole speech follows the break.

  Read the rest of this entry »


Aussie farmers fight methane claims

09/10/2009

Australian farmers are disputing methane measurements after scientists discovered significant variations in gas produced by individual animals.

Farmers, fearful of the costs greenhouse gas emissions trading will impose on their businesses, are demanding more accurate measurement of emissions before the ETS is brought in.

Beverley Henry, manager for environment, sustainability and climate change with Meat & Livestock Australia, said current estimates were based on livestock overseas, with the actual emissions likely to vary depending on diet and animal type, as well as other factors.

“At the moment, we don’t reflect those in Australia’s national accounts very well,” Dr Henry said.

“We need to get better quantification of the emissions as well as an understanding of how much mitigation is possible.”

Australia boasts 26.81 million head of beef and dairy cattle, and 69.2 million sheep, so even a small error would quickly compound in any attempt to measure the total greenhouse gas expelled by the animals.

New Zealand has 33.14 million sheep and 40.7 million beef cattle and 5.6 million dairy cows. 

If individual animals produce varying amounts of gas, and if the differences are greater on different diets in Australia then it’s probable there would be similar variations here.

That suggests changing what sheep and cattle eat could help reduce emissions.

It also calls in to question the accuracy of claims about how much methane our stock produces.

And if we can’t rely on estimates about how much gas the animals produce in the first place, how can we measure any changes?

Hat Tip: Trans Tasman.


ETS ball and chain on ag – AbacusBio

07/10/2009

The proposed ETS will add costs to agriculture but not necessarily reduce any greenhouse gases,  a report by Dunedin consultants AbacusBio says.

The report said that rather than being a gun to the head of agriculture as described by its critics, the emission trading scheme as proposed would be a “ball and chain dragging farmers down”. . .

. . . AbacusBio consultant and report co-author Peter Amer said while processors would have to collect a levy on every kilogram or raw product handled to cover the sector’s ETS obligations, it would not be an incentive for farmers to reduce their emissions.

He said it would need a costly bureaucracy and lead to inaccurate accounting because it would be difficult to match the number of breeding stock born on farms with the number of cull stock killed.

The AbacusBio report suggests allowing farmers to opt into the scheme and to prove they have lowered emissions.

“Well-organised and motivated farmers on medium to large-sized farms opting in and reducing emissions would become the innovators leading a change in industry farming practices,” the report said.

Benefits to these farmers would need to exceed the bureaucratic cost, but it would also be a test of emission reducing technology and practices, and help develop emissions assessment and auditing practices.

And there’s the difficulty – the costs are likely to be high and we have yet to get the tools to reduce emissions.

Dr Amer noted only four of the 34 recommendations made to the government by the ETS review committee related to agriculture.

This indicated the sector lacked political clout, but he said it was political reality that our customers in Europe, the United States and Asia were “embracing climate change issues,” even though our competitors were unlikely to face comparable levies.

“It will be critical that we claim the moral high ground on the social and ethical integrity of our products, and in this way claw back some of the disadvantages of our agricultural ETS.”

Our most important industry lack political clout, climate change issues are the cause de jour and no-one else is including agriculture in their ETS.

How do we claim the moral high ground and at what cost?


Australia dealys ETS, Select Committee deliberates in NZ

04/05/2009

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced his government’s Emissions Trading Scheme will be delayed a year.

Back here, the Select Committee reviewing our ETS has started hearing submissions.

Federated Farmers have asked for the scheme to be scrapped or substantially altered.

“The road to economic hell will be paved by an ill conceived ETS, because New Zealand doesn’t need the ETS to meet its Kyoto obligations,” said Don Nicolson, President of Federated Farmers.

Federated Farmers favours repeal of the ETS and non-punitive policy measures to transition New Zealand to a low-carbon economy. The Federation’s interim solutions put to the Select Committee include:

  • New Government-funded forest plantings via land leasing regimes, land purchases or other viable partnership arrangements. This will not just develop new permanent forestry sinks but also generate employment opportunities. This concept was also put to the Prime Minister’s Job Summit held earlier in the year;
  • A low-level carbon charge set at a rate that recovers just enough revenue to account for any emissions deficit;
  • Government purchasing the cheapest Kyoto emissions units available to meet New Zealand’s future liabilities, until the Kyoto Protocol lapses in 2012;
  • Lead internationally by advocating for each country to allocate a percentage of GDP towards climate change initiatives; and potentially,
  • Non-compliance, akin to the Canadian Government’s approach since 2005.

Feds’ other option was a substantial rewrite of the ETS to exclude primary food production and introduce economic tests.

“The primary production of food has no place in any emissions trading scheme,” Mr Nicolson continued.

“Precedent for this comes from Denmark. The Danish Government in March moved to specifically exclude the primary production of food from its Kyoto response.

Meat & Wool NZ and the Meat Industry Assocation  also want a rethink of the scheme.

They say including livestock in the scheme when no other country does puts farming at a signifincant risk and would have severe financial, social and environmental impacts.

They are using two case studies to show the affect the scheme would have. One of these is Southland farmers Julie and David Marshall:

Mr Marshall said the cost of paying for his emissions would equate to an extra $43,000 a year from about 2017 onwards.

The alternative would be to plant enough trees to offset his carbon footprint but, because of the unsuitable growing conditions near the coast, he would have to plant enough pine to cover half his 247ha property, he said.

MIA chair Bill Falconer said:

New Zealand’s 15,000 commercial sheep and beef farmers and about 80 processing plants collectively generated export earnings of $6.8 billion a year, which was in jeopardy under the current legislation.

“We could only contemplate an ETS for livestock if it properly incentives farmers to use proven mitigation technologies but leaves them no worse off compared to their overseas competitors,” he said.

The ETS is about politics and bureaucracy not the environment.

It is irrseponsible to impose significant costs on primary industry with the consequent social and economic impacts of that when there will be no environmental gain and possibly an increase in emissions.

There is no point in reducing emissions here if it will only lead to an increase somewhere else. We’ve signed the Kyoto Protocal but that doesn’t mean we have to sabotage our economy with an ETS which far exceeds what other countries are contemplating.

New Zealand and the environment would be better off if the energy and money going into the ETS was diverted to research  instead.


People do read election flyers

20/11/2008

I’ve often wondered if anyone actually reads election flyers but at least two people do because they complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about the contents of a couple from Act.

Family Party candidate Samuel Dennis objected to Act’s claim that it was the only party opposed to the Emissions Trading Scheme when his party was too.

The ASA received a complaint from another recipient disputing claims Act made comparing violent crime in New Zealand and the USA.

Both complaints were upheld.


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