Farming industry bosses pen open letter to Jacinda Arden over climate change

Three farming industry group leaders have penned an open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, urging her to leave agriculture out of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

Agriculture groups reached an agreement in July to work with the Government to implement farm-level pricing of climate change emissions from the sector.

The Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC) suggested that farming be included in the ETS, however sector leaders want a voluntary agreement with the Government instead.

The letter to Arden has been signed by Chief Executives of DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association.

 "We're writing to you on behalf of sheep, beef and dairy farmers and the countless rural communities across New Zealand who are doing their best to be responsible stewards of the land," said Tim Mackle, Sam McIvor and Tim Ritchie.

DairyNZ Chief Executive Dr Tim Mackle is one of the three industry bosses to pen the letter.
DairyNZ Chief Executive Dr Tim Mackle is one of the three industry bosses to pen the letter. Photo credit: Supplied

"We are incredibly proud of the environmental improvements that have been made by successive generations of farmers. Like you, we also want future generations to continue to benefit from and enjoy the environment we have today."

The letter said farming groups had looked to work constructively with the Government over the past few months to help drive the best possible outcome on climate change for the country.

"That's why DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the Meat Industry Association and eight other primary sector organisations developed He Waka Eke Noa, the Primary Sector Climate Change Commitment as a collaborative proposal with Government and Maori to help us achieve a low-carbon future."

Jacinda Arden said a way to reduce emissions from agriculture must be found if New Zealand was to take action on climate change.
Jacinda Arden said a way to reduce emissions from agriculture must be found if New Zealand was to take action on climate change. Photo credit: Newshub

It urges the Prime Minister to support the initiative which it describes as "an innovative and world-leading statement from the primary sector."

"We believe this will be more effective than taxing the sector via a levy on processors through the Emissions Trading Scheme."

Arden has acknowledged previously there had been significant debate around agriculture and its contribution to emissions in New Zealand.

"It's a significant part of our export industries, a significant part of our economy and with these emissions, they are ones that are very difficult to control, it's part of the natural processes, and that's probably why it's been contentious," she said. 

However she said they made up a huge part of New Zealand's emissions profile.

"If we are going to take action on climate change ultimately we have to find a way to reduce emissions from agriculture, and with technological research and development there are ways we can do that, including with farming practice," said Arden.

Submissions on the ICCC's discussion document closed in August, and will now be considered by Cabinet.

Newshub.

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