Thursday, May 19, 2022

Farmers make HWEN views clear

Feedback from DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ’s He Waka Eke Noa roadshow is resoundingly clear – 99% of farmers don’t want agricultural emissions to be priced through the Emissions Trading Scheme. 

Feedback from DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb NZ’s He Waka Eke Noa roadshow is resoundingly clear – 99% of farmers don’t want agricultural emissions to be priced through the Emissions Trading Scheme. 

They want a system that is cost-effective, fair and will recognise and reward the actions they’re taking to reduce emissions behind the farm gate.

The roadshow sought farmers’ opinions on two options developed by the primary sector climate action partnership He Waka Eke Noa, a farm-level levy and a processor-level levy, as well as what they thought about going into the ETS.

Of the roadshow feedback received, 86% supported farm-level pricing.

However, there were different views as to how to get there, with 47% wanting to move straight to farm-level pricing in 2025, while 40% supported a transition to farm-level pricing from processor-level.

DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel says farmers preferred the farm-level option as it recognises and incentivises on-farm actions.

“They want control over their farm emissions and farm management,” he says.

Feedback highlighted the need for money raised through any levy to be reinvested in the sector and distributed in a fair and transparent way, while farmers also wanted recognition for a wider range of on-farm vegetation than is currently eligible in the ETS.

There was strong support for split gas pricing and the use of better metrics for setting methane reduction targets.

B+LNZ chair Andrew Morrison says when it comes to setting levy prices the criteria needs to be transparent, with industry bodies involved.

“Farmers want the sector to have a seat at the table when levy prices are set and price setting should be science-based, not influenced by politics,” he says.

The HWEN partnership includes B+LNZ, DairyNZ, Dairy Companies Association of NZ, Federated Farmers, Foundation for Arable Research, Horticulture NZ, Irrigation NZ, Federation of Māori Authorities, Deer Industry New Zealand, Meat Industry Association and Apiculture New Zealand.

More than 2600 dairy and sheep and beef farmers attended 55 DairyNZ and B+LNZ engagement events in February and March on the HWEN options.

The two industry good groups will meet with the other HWEN partners discuss the feedback received, work through the practicalities and further strengthen the final recommendation to the Government, which is due by May 31.

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