4 Jun 2014

Farmers group takes no climate stance

9:50 pm on 4 June 2014

The farming lobby group Federated Farmers says it has no opinion on whether climate change is real or not and says it makes no difference to farmers anyway.

The federation has recently criticised people opposed to large-scale irrigation schemes as climate change deniers and has also attacked a Green Party proposal that sought to address the dairy sector's emissions.

Federated Farmers said it had no position on climate change.

Federated Farmers said it had no position on climate change. Photo: PHOTO NZ

However, Federated Farmers climate change spokesperson William Rolleston said it had no position on whether climate change is even real.

"If climate change exists and farmers are having an impact on it, then the most important thing for farmers to do would be to increase productivity, if it doesn't exist the most important thing for us to do is increase productivity.

"So our response is exactly the same, whether climate change exists or not, so there's not need for me to make a comment on whether it exists or not, because our response is the same."

Dr Rolleston said that while there's certainly a lot of scientific evidence that does suggest climate change is occurring he's adamant the Federation doesn't need to have a view.

Later, Dr Rolleston contacted Radio New Zealand and said there is ample evidence to show some emissions were heating the planet, but questioned agriculture and methane's role in that process, describing them as a political construct.

Methane is, according to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, a powerful greenhouse gas.

Radio New Zealand understands Federated Farmers has been forced into this position so as not to offend farming members who deny climate change is happening.