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ETS too important to rush says Federated Farmers

25 August 2008

ETS too important to rush says Federated Farmers

Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson said today, “Our simple message to those MPs considering their options on the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is, don’t rush. As a nation we have more to lose than to gain by getting this wrong.

“We are a small, pacific, agricultural nation, looking to play our part in trying to solve a global issue. New Zealand is sometimes described as a ‘cork bobbing at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean’. Rushing into this proposal in the next few days is a high risk response to the issue of climate change. It jeopardises the New Zealand economy and it has little, if any chance of achieving the global environmental outcomes sought,” Mr Nicolson said.

“It’s been suggested that ‘something is better than nothing’. This isn’t the right approach. It is better to have a considered, safe, nuclear reactor than rush and have a faulty one? It is true it is something, but it certainly is not better than nothing.

“This ETS proposal is the most significant economic reform since at least the 1980s. Since that time New Zealand farmers have been able to produce more food for the world from less land and have improved their overall efficiency significantly. New Zealand is recognised as having the world’s best farmers. It doesn’t make sense to have a regime that would mean production was shifted to countries with less efficient farmers and farming systems or that New Zealand would need to import food.

“Farmers naturally are environmentalists, every day they work out in the elements and care for their land for future generations. New Zealand needs time to get the science that tells farmers what they can do differently that may assist to make a difference to climate change.

“It will take time to get potential, affordable mitigation techniques that are readily available and can be applied practically.

“No other country on the globe currently has agriculture in an ETS type scheme, nor are they likely to include it. Logic therefore says their political leaders believe that including agriculture won’t make a difference to climate change.

“New Zealand farmers produce food and sell it to a world where food is becoming scare. New Zealand farmers are internationally recognised as world leaders. It would be a disaster for this to be seriously threatened.”

Mr Nicolson said it was heartening that the Green party realised the significance of this issue.

“We should not rush this decision. We should take the time to use our collective intelligence to get it right,” Mr Nicolson concluded.


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