The government has seen sense and is accepting the primary sector’s proposal on agricultural emissions.
The agreement means agriculture will not join the Emissions Trading Scheme but instead work with the Government to reduce emissions.
There will be no processor levy from 2020 to 2025 as initially proposed but farmers and growers will have to implement farm plans and calculate their emissions and offsets at the farmgate from 2025.
A processor level would have penalised more efficient farmers and given no-one an incentive to improve.
Such a tax would have taken money from farmers, leaving them with less to invest in on-farm solutions.
Progress will be reviewed in 2022 and if the Government is unhappy it will revert to the original legislation.
That threat will hang over the sector but at least there’s breathing space.
“We are pleased that the Government has recognised that it does not make sense to bring agriculture into the ETS and that we have a pathway to work with the Government to develop a more appropriate framework,” the sector said in a joint statement.
“We welcome this pragmatic and sensible decision by the Government to work in partnership with industry to achieve tangible on-farm change and hope that it might provide a blueprint for the way we work together to solve environmental challenges in the future.”
Would it be too much to hope a similar approach could be taken to water policy?
The 11-member primary sector group has committed $25m over five years to achieve these goals.
That group is Apiculture NZ, Beef + Lamb, DairyNZ, Dairy Companies Association, Deer Industry NZ, Federation of Maori Authorities, Foundation for Arable Research, Federated Farmers, Horticulture NZ, Irrigation NZ and the Meat Industry Association. . .
This shows the importance of unity and what can be achieved when working together.
It also shows the sense of government working with the sector instead of trying to impose impossible goals on it.
Federated Farmers’ response is here.
DairyNZ’s response is here.