'A sell-out of monumental proportions': Greenpeace blasts Government over ETS

Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman has slammed the Government's recently announced changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), calling it a total backdown.  

"They have broken all their promises on this issue. It's just plain as plain," he told Newshub Nation. 

"They've made a decision not to put agriculture into the ETS, even though it's Labour Party policy,  it's Green Party policy, even though it was in the coalition agreement with New Zealand First," Dr Norman said. 

The Government announced this week that farmers and growers will be able to calculate their emissions and offsets at the farm gate by 2025, instead of joining the ETS. 

The Government has called the partnership a world-first, which brings farming into climate change initiatives. 

Under the plan, if progress isn't being made by 2022, the Government can still bring the sector into the ETS at processor level before 2025.

But Dr Norman, who used to be a Green Party co-leader, maintains the policy is "voluntary". 

"There is no plan to make agriculture pay for its emissions. If you're saying we're going to make them pay in five years' time, after two elections, what you're saying is you've got no plan to make agriculture pay because all the Government controls is where we are now." 

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor has said the agreement could see New Zealand get a premium for agricultural products on the world stage. 

But Dr Norman says any potential benefits from the scheme is vastly outweighed by the dangers posed by climate change.  

"This is the greatest issue facing us at the moment, and the government has just chosen to do nothing about the most polluting industry."

Dr Norman says concerns Kiwis who want stronger climate action will have to go back to the streets. 

"The people have to mobilise because governments have proven they are not capable of dealing with this issue."