Election 2023: ACT promises end to sacrificing farmers to 'climate gods'

List MP Mark Cameron said farmers have had a "torrid" time under Labour.
List MP Mark Cameron said farmers have had a "torrid" time under Labour. Photo credit: Newshub.

The ACT Party has unveiled its plan for the primary industries at Fieldays, including a promise to change the way agricultural emissions are measured.

List MP Mark Cameron said farmers have had a "torrid" time under Labour, and his party could give the sector the "respect it deserves".

The policy reiterated ACT's promise to scrap the Zero Carbon Act and tie any emissions price to that of New Zealand's five main trading partners.

"With the caveat that if farmers in countries who are our biggest trading partners are not paying a price for their methane emissions, neither should New Zealand farmers."

ACT wanted to change how emissions are measured, by introducing a 'split gas approach'. Such a change would see methane treated differently to carbon dioxide when reporting emissions.

Cameron said the government had tried to "sacrifice [farmers] to the climate gods by implementing an emissions-pricing scheme that would only send production to less efficient countries".

The party would give regional councils more powers, making them responsible for managing, regulating and verifying farm plans. Regional councils would also be required to monitor the environmental impacts of farming.

Other commitments include liberalising genetic engineering laws, ensuring only people with farming experience are appointed to the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and allowing live animal exports.

The policy also reiterated ACT's promise to scrap Special Natural Areas, Three Waters, the Clean Car Discount and parts of Arms Legislation Act.

ACT was trying to win the rural vote and had a large presence at Fieldays in Hamilton.

Cameron said ACT was the only party standing up for farmers.

"ACT was the only party to vote against the Zero Carbon Act. We were the only party willing to oppose He Waka Eke Noa from the beginning. We alone stood up for licensed firearms owners.

"We've consistently opposed the government's freshwater rules, Significant Natural Areas, fertiliser tax, the live animal export ban, the ute tax, and more."