A tax on fertiliser would have a significant impact on domestic food prices and farm profitability, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chair Kate Acland says.
The government has not announced any changes to its intention to price agricultural emissions, but the idea of a tax on urea has been floated.
“There has been a lot of media speculation about a possible fertiliser tax and what this means for agricultural emissions pricing and the He Waka Eke Noa partnership,” Acland said.
“There has been no concrete proposal in relation to how it intends to do this [price agricultural emissions] aside from indications of a potential tax of around $150 per tonne on urea.
“BLNZ’s preliminary analysis suggests this would have a significant impact on domestic food prices and farm profitably, particularly on our mixed arable systems, and raise an unjustifiably large amount of money, which we could not support.
“We are raising these concerns with the government and will keep you updated on any further developments,” Acland said in an update to farmers.
She said BLNZ is committed to playing its part in addressing emissions with good progress on reducing emissions already made by the agriculture sector.
“However, we still fundamentally believe the current methane targets are too high and do not reflect the latest science when it comes to methane’s warming impact on the planet.
“We continue to work with other sector groups such as Federated Farmers on pushing for a review of the targets in 2024 based on the latest science and a warming approach.”
BLNZ is still committed to a partnership approach in addressing agricultural emissions.
“However we continually reassess whether this is right for our farmers and are currently fronting up to feedback sessions around the country to gain a deeper understanding of their concerns in relation to this.
“We recognise the importance of continued investment in research and development from our sector in addressing agricultural emissions, but farmers need confidence in how this is going to be done and that it won’t affect the viability of our sector.
“The issue of climate change is not going to go away and consumers and customers in our global markets are sending signals that they want to see action in this area.”
BLNZ believes the first step in meeting these expectations is setting up a robust emissions reporting and measurement framework.
“No price should be imposed until issues like sequestration have been addressed and there are viable mitigations available.
“We remain firm in our position that we will not agree to any outcome that disproportionately impacts sheep and beef farmers.”