Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Climate change, farmers, and foresters

Climate change, farmers, and foresters

Farmers were confused on climate change, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said the debate about climate change had been confused because of an incorrect linkage between the greenhouse gas emissions created by pastoral farming and the carbon sinks created by forestry.

"The forestry sector ? including small woodlot investors and farm foresters ? told the Government that they did not want the liabilities associated with deforestation, so the Government could have the credits from forests.

"This is a separate issue from pastoral agriculture and its emissions.

"Some farmers have invested heavily in forestry, and this is admirable. But at the early part of policy development on the Kyoto Protocol implementation, they were part of a sector that advocated the Government holding both the liabilities and the credits associated with the protocol. I wondered at the time whether they were receiving good advice."

Mr Sutton said the Government would carry the liability for up to a 10 per cent of reduction in forest sinks. Work was continuing on issues around incentives.

"The reality is that pastoral agriculture is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in New Zealand, and we have to address that. Farming leaders know that. They told the Government in April that they knew the industry had to make a contribution to combat climate change, but that it would have to be done by a compulsory tax, as they could not guarantee approval of a levy under the Compulsory Levies Act.

"That is why we are now working to implement this agricultural emissions levy. It is an investment in the future of farming, not a tax on emissions. Farmers are not being taxed on their emissions ? the Government recognises the importance of pastoral agriculture and is protecting the sector from charges. In effect, farmers are getting a subsidy of at least $117 million a year."

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

CPAG Report: The Further Fraying Of The Welfare Safety Net

New Zealand’s welfare system has undergone a major transformation during the past three decades. This process has seriously thwarted the original intent of the system, which was to provide a decent standard of living for all New Zealanders in times of need...

In 2017 it is not unusual for families to be living in their cars, in garages, or in substandard boarding houses. Food banks are unable to meet the soaring demands from not only beneficiaries but, increasingly, the working poor. Private charities, such as KidsCan and Variety, are overwhelmed by the demand from poor families for basic necessities. More>>



Risks & Adaptation: Cheaper To Cut Emissions Than Deal With Climate Change

The cost of climate change to New Zealand is still unknown, but a group of experts tasked with plugging the country's information gaps says it will likely be significant and it would be cheaper to cut greenhouse emissions than simply adapting to those changes. More>>


BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>


Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>


State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>





Featured InfoPages