The consequence of cutting livestock numbers to tackle farm emissions? A culling of support for Labour in rural areas, perhaps

Has the Ardern government just  shot itself in the  foot?

Despite its  poll  ratings slipping in  recent  months, it nourished hopes of  returning to power next year.  But  its  “world-first” policy to  cut greenhouse  gases with farm-level pricing, effectively making 20% of  NZ’s  sheep and beef  farms uneconomic, could result in it  bleeding  votes  in  most  of the  regional electorates  it  won  in 2020.

The unpalatable  truth  is  just  dawning on the  country: cutting  agricultural emissions  means  cutting  food and fibre output.  And  that means slashing the export income on which  NZ  depends.

Clearly  the  Cabinet  ministers  adopting the  policy  announced  yesterday  believed  they  could “sell” it  on  the  basis  that NZ  would be  leading the world, in  cutting agricultural emissions.

In the event, they have been met with shrieks of outrage from farm lobby  groups.

More  unexpected is that Greenpeace is  critical, saying the  plan is just “greenwashing”.  Worse, ultra-Greens call  it  a “scam”  (but they,  of  course, believe  the  simplest way  to  cut  greenhouse  gas  emissions is to cull drastically the  dairy  herds).

It may  even  be  true that any of the farm-level pricing options is less effective at reducing emissions than the default option of  including agriculture in the  Emissions  Trading Scheme at the processor level.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon, perhaps  sniffing the  breeze and detecting a gale brewing, has  dropped  any notion of pursuing consensus with Labour  on its  “world-first” plan.

He  says  National opposes  what the  government has  now put  forward, saying  the government’s own figures suggest its proposed scaling back of the sheep industry will actually lead to overall higher global emissions.

He  points  to how National had backed the sector-led process as a way to introduce emission pricing for agriculture alongside other measures to reduce on-farm emissions and support the uptake of new technology.

“We believe consensus with farmers is vital. But the government has  put that at risk with a different proposal which could gut our rural communities while seeing emissions increase overseas as food production and jobs move off-shore. 

“The scaling back of our sheep industry will actually lead to overall higher global emissions, because Kiwi farmers are among the most carbon efficient in the world, so cutting back food production here just to see demand being met by less-efficient farmers overseas is simply counter-productive.

“National would ensure Kiwi farmers enjoy regulatory settings that make it easy to develop and adopt new technology to reduce emissions – not just send primary production, jobs and emissions offshore.

“National would also allow farmers to earn credit for all forms of on-farm carbon capture. It’s just not right for Labour and the Greens to add extra costs to farmers without allowing on-farm planting and carbon capture to offset new emissions costs they may face.”

Luxon urged the Government to get alongside rural communities and find an enduring solution that works for everyone – not dictate changes from Wellington.

“National trusts farmers to be the best environmental stewards of their own land. I know farmers will use technology, ingenuity and local knowledge to figure out local solutions that work to reduce emissions sensibly.”

What Luxon failed  to  point out  is  that the  government’s  plan, if  implemented,  will  mean New Zealanders will have to pay even  higher  prices  for  meat  and  dairy  products.

Meanwhile  Climate  Change  Minister  James Shaw,  who  wanted  an  even  more draconian solution  to the  problem of  agricultural emissions, can  sit back  smirking  as  his  Labour  colleagues  get  caught  in a  wave  that   could  sweep  them   from  office.

5 thoughts on “The consequence of cutting livestock numbers to tackle farm emissions? A culling of support for Labour in rural areas, perhaps

  1. This nonsense is not based on any scientific or economic reality. It is based solely on a desire to create international political grandstanding options for Ardern and Shaw, which have already occurred in UK and Canada.
    The global shortfall in food production that will occur will be filled eagerly by producers around the world which have greater emissions than NZ agriculture. Thus it defeats all arguments that the “policy” advances for emissions reduction.
    God defend NZ and our agriculture!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No other country is doing this, nor will any because food production is protected under Article 2(b) of the Paris Agreement. New Zealand farmers and consumers are being martyred in the cause of Ardern’s vanity and her promotion of her international brand.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ardern’s “International Brand”, like her, is wearing thin with those that matter. She is definitely in the mould of Biden, Macron, Trudeau, et al. All on their way out. Forgot Albanese, who may get a Gough Whitlam send off before he knows it also!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Ardern and her cadre of idiots are bent on destroying New Zealand’s economy. First, massive lockdowns to prevent workers from working and handing out billions of borrowed money that weakens our NZD. Secondly, tourism-revival held up by lack of visas issued by government thus limiting foreign exchange in-flows. Thirdly, destroying our agriculture sector (the world’s most efficient) by cutting livestock numbers. and not one of her Ministers has the guts to stand up and tell her to get out of Parliament. What is O’Connor doing ? Nothing — week-kneed, gutless, spineless and he calls himself a farmer !!! Definition of TREASON: the crime of betraying one’s country Why isn’t Ardern being charged with TREASON, eh ?

    Liked by 1 person

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