Bringing agriculture into the ETS in 2013 will present a challenge for the industry but offer opportunities at the same time, says Labour’s Agriculture spokesperson Damien O’Connor.
“Farmers have been very proud to farm without subsidies since 1984 and the increasing costs on taxpayers incurred since New Zealand was brought into the international carbon trading system and adjusted by this National Government in July 2010 will inevitably embarrass more farmers.
“The challenge will be to identify systems and production methods to reduce emissions two years earlier than planned. The innovation and vision of farmers will inevitably drive the changes needed to remain profitable.
“While no farmer wants to face another cost, the reality is this ETS charge for animal emissions will still form a very small part of a farm’s total production costs.
“Without inclusion in the international carbon reduction programme, New Zealand farmers and exporters will face increasing trade barriers and undermine our reputation for the highest standards of environmental protection and sustainability.
“The additional funding for research and development will enable agricultural scientists and research organisations to access more money for the ideas that need further investigation and commercialisation.
“While this earlier introduction of agriculture into the ETS will put pressure on the sector to adjust, the removal of the increasing subsidy for farmers will return New Zealand to a truly market focused and international leading food production farming system,” said Damien O’Connor.