Minister promises farmers conditions on ETS
Wellington, June 25 NZPA - Agriculture Minister David Carter has promised the nation's farmers that they will not be made accountable for the greenhouse gas emissions through the Government's emissions trading scheme (ETS), unless trading partners are also feeling some of the financial pain.
"You have my absolute assurance that agriculture will not come into the ETS in 2015, if our major trading partners haven't taken steps to meet their own obligations," he told Federated Farmers's annual conference in Invercargill yesterday.
Farmers are expected to be the last section of the economy to be brought into the ETS, in 2015. But Mr Carter said there would be two reviews of the ETS --one in 2011 and another in 2014 -- before methane emissions from livestock and nitrous oxide emissions from their waste were taken into account under the scheme.
"As part of these reviews we will consider how New Zealand is positioned in international negotiations, as well as what other countries, including our competitors, are doing with respect to agriculture".
"There's no point in disadvantaging New Zealand farmers while agricultural producers elsewhere are causing more emissions".
Mr Carter noted some farmers denied climate change, and some wanted emissions from livestock excluded, and others wanted the Government to drop the ETS altogether, and had threatened to form their own political party.
"The more realistic of you say the National Government's changes are a pretty good pragmatic solution given the political and economic realities," he said.
Forestry has been in the scheme since January 2008 and other sectors will join the ETS on July 1.
Federated Farmers later said Mr Carter had agreed to supply it with details of how the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry had calculated its costing for the ETS.
The federation's dairy chairman, Lachlan McKenzie, said farmers were not happy about the ETS.