18 Apr 2023

Beef + Lamb wants changes to on-farm emissions plan

12:47 pm on 18 April 2023

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Beef and Lamb New Zealand says farmers shouldn't have to pay for on-farm emissions until a robust emissions measuring and reporting system is up and running.

Farmers are set to pay for their on-farm emissions from 2025 - with the government adopting a split-gas on-farm levy which was developed by industry partnership He Waka Eke Noa.

Beef + Lamb is part of the partnership, but chair Kate Acland said after feedback from farmers they wanted some changes.

"We're calling for the staged implementation of an agricultural emissions framework, starting with the establishment of a robust emissions measuring and reporting system, with a price on emissions not introduced until outstanding issues are resolved.

"We know our farmers aren't anti-change but if change is going to be driven by regulation it needs to be the right changes, for the right reasons at the right pace."

At Beef + Lamb's annual meeting in New Plymouth last month a remit was submitted asking for the group to exit He Waka Eke Noa immediately.

Gore Farmer Hugh Gardyne also moved a vote of no confidence in the board, specifically for its support of He Waka Eke Noa.

Acland said Beef and Lamb had listened to farmers' concerns.

"Farmers' concerns relate to the disproportionate impact on the sheep and beef sector and its ongoing viability, the need to develop a robust and practical on-farm system for calculating emissions and fairly recognising the carbon-sequestering vegetation on our farms, the availability of mitigation options, and also the potential for emissions leakage overseas.

"Given the time we have to resolve these concerns and then stand up a system, it has become apparent that is not appropriate to price agricultural emissions from the outset."

When asked if Beef + Lamb would leave the industry partnership if emissions pricing came into force in 2025 as planned, Acland said it was too early to say.

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