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One step closer towards rural ghettos?


29 August 2008

ETS second reading - One step closer towards rural ghettos?

Federated Farmers president, Don Nicolson said today, "News that the emissions trading scheme bill has passed its second reading is bad. It is too rushed. What we have is a whole lot of short term political gamesmanship that is divorced from the real world.

"The reality is that the ETS will have a significant impact on our economy, and likely, little impact on the global environment. Science has a long way to go to develop the economical tools to help farming families get even more efficient than they currently are. The risks of this legislation will be felt by farmers and other New Zealanders for decades," Mr Nicolson said.

"Agriculture will be affected by the ETS from day one. Already farmers are facing significant increases in input costs that are having a big impact on farm viability. The ETS will only make this worse.

"We have heard some suggestions that New Zealand needs fewer animals on farms. For various reasons it is forecast that New Zealand will have nine million less sheep and lambs over the next year. That's a drop to 21 million sheep from a high of about 70 million. While meat and fibre farmers have had their worst year, financially, for half a century, the ETS will make this situation worse. It will result in less money for farmers and therefore have a negative flow on into New Zealand cities.

"This is a giant leap into the abyss. These politicians seem to have forgotten that it is agriculture that is laying New Zealand's golden egg. Our farming communities are working very hard every day to produce food and fibre that New Zealand sells to the world and helps pay many of New Zealand's bills.

"If we want to try and remain a first world country, rather than a third world country, the simple fact is, we need agriculture to prosper and grow. We can't afford to kill New Zealand's golden goose. If we do, we will have rural ghettos and a lower standard of living for all New Zealanders. Here's hoping we don't kill the golden goose and develop rural ghettos.

"Until the third reading, which is likely on Tuesday, politicians can still change their minds.

"The Federation will remain steadfast in its determination to get some common sense and practical solutions to the mess that this legislation now creates. If there is a bright side, it is not obvious right now," Mr Nicolson concluded.


ENDS

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