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Press Release

The Farming Tax And Demanding Evidence From James Shaw

Bryce, Laurie, Mel and the Team at Groundswell NZ

With the Farming Tax development process (He Waka Eke Noa’s agricultural emissions pricing) recently coming to a close, we’re emailing to update you on where New Zealand’s farmers and growers stand, along with what Groundswell NZ is doing to fight back against this unworkable regulation.

We were very disappointed, but unfortunately not surprised, to see the rural advocacy organisations back the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) emissions pricing (taxing) recommendations.

This new tax on farming will add a significant burden in time, stress and cost to all farmers and growers.

We are particularly concerned about the treatment of the Sheep and Beef sector – they typically have the lowest net greenhouse gas footprint, but have been hung out to dry by the HWEN Steering Group.

These recommendations assume that many Sheep and Beef farmers will be forced out of business and sell to carbon-mining forestry interests, which will have a devastating impact on many rural communities.

By supporting a tax on farm emissions, DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb, and Federated Farmers are agreeing that farmers are to blame for climate change.

Groundswell NZ does not share that view.

Based on available data, we believe New Zealand’s farming has little or no effect on the climate and we intend to prove this.

The primary motivation for taxing farm emissions is, in fact, to offset warming produced by other sectors of the economy.

This reasoning has been confirmed to Groundswell NZ by the Climate Change Commission and the Ministry for the Environment. Both agreed that agricultural emissions reduction targets do not relate to our industry’s effect on climate but were, in fact, set so farmers will offset warming caused by other emitters.

Groundswell NZ has written to James Shaw, the Climate Change Minister, to request:

  1. Any data or modelling he has that supports his implied position that farmers are producing additional atmospheric warming
  2. To either confirm or deny that farmers are being used to offset warming from other emitters

Click here to read our letter to the Minister.

The costly and damaging HWEN emissions pricing proposal has been sold to famers and the public based on the premise that our agriculture sector is warming the climate.

It should alarm farmers that, to date, there has not been a single scientific model of agriculture’s warming effect that has been made publicly available.

This is highly suspicious, given our national climate policy is based on the Paris Agreement goal of limiting additional warming to 1.5 degrees.

Without warming based modelling, farmers have no ability to measure progress against the Paris Agreement.

This absence of an objective standard will allow the Government to force ever increasing emission reductions over time, regardless of how much farmers are doing to reduce warming. This is unacceptable.

The Labour Government and rural advocacy bodies have bowed to political pressure from climate activists who have no understanding of the science involved with agricultural emissions.

Groundswell NZ stands 100% behind kiwi farmers and we expect answers.

Thank you for your support.

Kind regards,
Bryce, Laurie, Mel and the Team at Groundswell NZ

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