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No agriculture, no Trade, no New Zealand

No agriculture, no Trade, no New Zealand

No agriculture, no trade, no New Zealand, Federated Farmers CEO Tony St Clair told the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select committee today.

Speaking to the Federation's submission on Climate Change Response Bill, Mr St Clair told the committee that the majorities of the Federation's members believe ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is totally unjustified and therefore oppose the passing of the Bill.

"Federated Farmers at both national and provincial level have consistently voiced their concerns regarding the implications of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, said Mr St Clair. "New Zealand is still riding on the sheep's back despite moves to diversify the economy over the last twenty years.

"This bill threatens the future economic viability of New Zealand and the property rights of all New Zealand farmers. Climate change needs to be addressed, but the Federation remains unconvinced that the Kyoto Protocol offers the best solution for New Zealand.

"The competitive advantage of the primary sector will be in serious jeopardy if the Government persists with this high risk, low impact solution. Farmers are price takers in a highly competitive market place and are unable to pass additional costs on to their consumers.

Given the Government has indicated it will ratify the Protocol regardless of widespread opposition, Mr St Clair outlined the Federation's concerns about the Climate Change Response Bill.

"This bill is yet another example of the continual erosion of the private property rights of New Zealand farmers. In its current form the Bill provides free and open access to private land regardless of circumstance which raises serious concern in terms of animal welfare at lambing and calving, and workplace safety at times of high fire risk.

"Farmers were only consulted on these provisions when the Federation and the Landowners Forum demanded a meeting with Government officials.

"It is ironic that a Government that has been insistent on farmer approval for producer board reform chooses to ignore the will of 94.6% of respondents to an FFNZ members poll rejecting early ratification of the Kyoto Protocol."

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