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Government Cavalier With New Zealand's Future

Federated Farmers is bitterly disappointed at claims that the New Zealand Government was first in line to support the compromise negotiation at COP6b in Bonn last night.

"The EU has delivered a major compromise to Japan in the form of a non binding target. Hon Pete Hodgson, the Minster of Energy, says the New Zealand delegation played a role in brokering the deal with Japan, so where is the better deal for New Zealanders?" asked Federated Farmers President Alistair Polson.

"Freeing up international trade in agriculture would do more to reduce greenhouse gases from agriculture than the Protocol itself," said Mr Polson.

"As the Minister has acknowledged New Zealand is unique in having agriculture as the main contributor to its greenhouse gas profile" said Mr Polson. "Yet the Government has committed New Zealand to an agreement without an in-depth appreciation of the economic implications for agriculture and indeed the New Zealand economy."

"The Minister appears to have blind faith that science will deliver the solutions agriculture requires before 2008", Mr Polson said. "I am well aware of the timeframes involved in achieving major scientific breakthroughs."

"A number of options exist which may reduce methane emissions from livestock. That said these options are likely to negatively affect the productivity, quality and possibly safety of our products. New Zealand can not afford to undertake mitigation options which will affect the market perception of our agricultural products."

"The Kyoto Protocol will penalise New Zealand's agricultural exporters while we still suffer from the effects of trade barriers and distorted international markets. Government can not afford to compromise a sector upon which the New Zealand economy depends", Mr Polson said.

"I hope that in ten years time, New Zealand will not remember this event as the British remember Neville Chamberlain after World War II".

ENDS


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