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Don't tax farmers for methane says Meat New Zealand

The Government's proposal to introduce a compulsory new levy to fund methane research on livestock farmers is bad news at the worst time, and is just another tax, says Meat New Zealand chairman Jeff Grant.

"Farmers already fund research that not only improves productivity, but reduces methane emissions at the same time. Now the government is suggesting they pay an $8 million levy for even more methane research," Grant said. "That's 9 cents per sheep and 54 cents per beef cow. It's overkill, and is something we have argued against for a long time now."

The Government intends the new levy to be used to fund research to reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions from ruminants, Grant said. "Meat New Zealand is already part of the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGGRC), involving dairy, meat (beef, lamb) and deer industry funding of research to increase production by reducing methane emissions from ruminants. We believe targeted research like this has more chance of success than that funded by a compulsory Government imposed levy."

Agriculture contributes 17 percent of New Zealand's GDP, Grant said. "A further levy on methane emissions will make it harder for our farmers to compete against our non-Kyoto ratifying competitors like Australia and the US."

"This is essentially a public good, rather than an industry good. It should be funded by the Government, not farmers. We will be making a strong submission against this tax, and we urge individual farmers to do likewise."

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