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Turning Heroes Into Victims

Our congratulations and commiserations go out to our nation’s primary producers, those who make us a prosperous country, those on whom we depend in times of economic hardship, those who toil seven days a week, almost every day of the year, our farmers.

Congratulations because recent thorough research by AgResearch shows that our “New Zealand dairy farmers have the world’s lowest carbon footprint – at half the emissions of other international producers…. an on-farm carbon footprint 46 percent less than the average of 18 countries studied.”(1) Our farmers are so efficient, and they continue to work towards greater efficiency, that they produce just half the GHGs of farmers in other countries.

Our farmers need applauding for their efforts and achievements, and hailed as the world leaders that they are. But in the past few days our government has once again turned them from heroes into villains and victims by demanding that they reduce stock levels by 15% over the coming years to do their bit to reduce our carbon footprint as a nation.

“New Zealand greenhouse gas emissions have been relatively unchanged since 2005. In 2018 New Zealand’s gross greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 78.9 million tonnes of CO2-e, 24.0 percent higher than 1990.” (2)

During the same period from 1990 methane emissions (agriculture) increased just 8%, reaching their peak in 2005 and reducing by 2.7% since then. Clearly our farmers are getting a raw deal here and are being made victims by the current government and a voiceless opposition. And if the uptake of carbon by agriculture (trees and grass on farms) was taken into consideration, we could well see that our dairy farmers, in particular, are carbon neutral.

They should not be the recipients in the blame game of climate change politics, but need to be recognised as our heroes, leading the way for a cleaner greener New Zealand, and doing more about cleaning up their act than any other sector.

New Conservative calls on the government to give our farmers a break and let them do what they know best, enabling them to continue to be the backbone of our economy while effectively caring for their environment.

(1) https://www.agresearch.co.nz/news/research-shows-nz-dairy-the-worlds-most-emissions-efficient/
(2) https://www.stats.govt.nz/indicators/new-zealands-greenhouse-gas-emissions

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