Extension for farmers to have a say on pricing agriculture emissions

09 February 2022

Farmers now have more time to have a say on designing a new emissions pricing option as an alternative to agriculture going into the NZ ETS.

DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand pushed strongly for the Government to extend the consultation timeframes for the alternative agriculture emission pricing options. The Government has agreed to extend the timeframe for consultation and recommendations on options.

Consultation will now close in late March rather than the end of February. The Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership He Waka Eke Noa, which includes DairyNZ and B+LNZ, will report its recommendations to Ministers by 31 May 2022 (rather than 30 April 2022).
“We strongly encourage farmers to have their say. They can attend meetings in a roadshow DairyNZ and B+LNZ are bringing to the regions in February. Our consultation also has a strong online component, with online webinars and full information on our websites to give farmers options.

“Farmers can give feedback, including filling out a feedback form, both at the roadshows and via the DairyNZ and B+LNZ websites,” says DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel.

“These options would deliver more positive outcomes for farmers and New Zealand than the NZ ETS. The options (a farm-level levy and processor-level hybrid levy) are more practical and reward positive change, while still achieving environmental outcomes. Some of the money raised will be invested back into R&D and on-farm work to reduce emissions.”

Following initial farmer feedback on the options in December, the partners are also putting forward a two-phased approach, starting with the processor-level hybrid levy option and transitioning to a farm level system in future.

“Doing nothing is not an option. If we don’t move on this, the Government will put agriculture in the NZ ETS. They have already put this into legislation but have agreed to listen if we come up with a credible alternative,” says B+LNZ chairman Andrew Morrison.

“We know this is a challenging and uncertain time for farmers but we need to keep going with this consultation and find the right solution. We pushed hard for as long an extension as possible and the Government agreed to a month – this was the longest they felt fitted with their legislative timeframe. It’s not ideal but going for longer and ending up in the ETS is also far from ideal. We remain committed to helping farmers through the complexities as much as we can.”

The importance of accurate and fair targets and metrics for methane is also expected to come up at the roadshow. Climate change decisions need to account for methane’s different warming impact in the atmosphere compared to long-lived gases. He Waka Eke Noa pricing already recognises that methane is different to carbon dioxide through the split gas approach.

DairyNZ and B+LNZ believe both the 2030 and 2050 methane targets need to be continually reviewed as the science evolves. The next formal review by the Climate Change Commission is set for 2024. DairyNZ and B+LNZ will listen to farmer views and advocate for targets that are science-based and work for farmers, while meeting consumer and public expectations.

The roadshow will comply with all requirements of the Covid-19 Protection Framework, including social distancing, masks and scanning via the NZ Covid Tracer or signing in on paper that will be provided. Registration is essential and attendees will need to show their My Vaccine Pass on the day.

For more information on the options, the roadshow schedule, to register and fill out the online feedback form, go to:

dairynz.co.nz/roadshow
beeflambnz.com/emissions-pricing-consultation