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Farmers Should Rebuff Government's Kyoto Demand

Farmers Should Rebuff Government's Kyoto Demand

The farming community should refuse point blank to agree to the Government's demand that the agricultural sector spend an extra twenty million dollars on identifying ways to reduce emissions from livestock, ACT Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.

"In no way should any credence be given to Pete Hodgson's belief that livestock farming in New Zealand is somehow responsible for global warming. Somebody needs to tell the Minister that research into improved species of grass, clover and brassica has been going on for years, which inadvertently has been reducing nitrous oxicle (flatulence) emissions. The industry itself should decide what new research is necessary - not the Beehive.

"The Government steadfastly refuses to accept that farming in New Zealand is well on the credit side of the ledger through stored carbon in the soil. Carbon levels in the soil have been increased by a massive amount - estimated by some at two billion tonnes, all thanks to the planting of shelter belts, improved grass species, no tillage systems, and farm forestry. The only aspect the Minister is correct about is the cycle that occurs above the soil, which is probably about neutral where the absorption of cox by plants equated to the emissions by livestock.

"I challenge the Minister to inform the public of the level of stored carbon in the soil that is being actively farmed. If the Minister and this Government decide to tax livestock farmers so be it, but landowners should never agree to voluntarily shoot themselves in the foot. Let the Government tax landowners and be held to account at the next election," Mr Eckhoff said.

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