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National supportive of primary sector’s ambition

Farmers will have mixed feelings towards today’s announcement that pricing of agriculture emissions is likely to be deferred until 2025, National’s Climate Change spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“National has always held the view that agriculture should only enter the ETS, or an equivalent pricing mechanism, when there are sufficient tools for farmers to lower their on-farm emissions and international partners are taking similar steps.

“New Zealand is already the most efficient producer of beef, dairy and lamb products in the world. Our farmers have proven time and again that they are highly adaptable. When provided information, opportunity and the tools, they will exceed expectations.

“However, we believe taxing the sector without farmers having the ability to reduce their on-farm emissions will hurt our competitiveness and reduce livestock numbers at a time when global demand for low-emissions food is increasing.

“But farmers will be wary of the mixed messages in the report recommendations. On one hand, the Government is saying they have reached a historic agreement with the sector on a five year work programme before on-farm pricing is established, on the other hand, they are consulting on an option that would essentially ignore this agreement and introduce agriculture into the ETS by 2021.

“Labour campaigned hard on implementing a water tax, capital gains tax and emissions tax on farmers by 2020. We strongly opposed all of these taxes. Introducing agriculture into the scheme before the tools are available to address emissions will simply be a new tax on the sector.

“National has always been a strong supporter of technology not taxation, and partnership not pricing.”

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