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Honesty Sorely Needed on Greenhouse Gas Research

"How does the Government expect farmers to respond to an ultimatum where you either pay for research or you pay for research?" was Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) National Board member Neil Barton's response to the Government's announcement of a levy to fund research to reduce agricultural emissions.

"Reducing agricultural emissions under the Kyoto Protocol benefits the entire country. If research cannot deliver on-farm emission reductions then the lifestyle of all New Zealanders will be severely impacted.

"The Government's decision to embark on a research programme left the farming sector with only two options: farmers can volunteer the money or the Government will simply take the money under a research levy.

"The Federation has always opposed the imposition of a levy to fund research to reduce agricultural emissions and remains so" said Mr Barton. "This is because farmers will be forced to pay to reduce emissions twice: once as New Zealand taxpayers and again as New Zealand farmers.

"Farmers will be forced to fund research that may not cost-effectively deliver on-farm emissions reductions. AgResearch trialled mitigation options on West Coast dairy farms late last year and although the trial reduced on-farm emissions by 14% the costs of doing so were astronomical.

"The Government signed the country up to the Kyoto Protocol and if the Government wants research to reduce emissions then they should be prepared to pay for it from the consolidated fund" concluded Mr Barton.

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