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Progress in discussions on agricultural greenhouse gas research

[Joint statement from Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton, Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change Pete Hodgson, Primary Industries Council chairman Ian Robb and Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium chairman Mark Leslie.]

Significant progress is being made in discussions between the government and the agriculture sector on a science plan and funding for research into agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton and Climate Change Convenor Pete Hodgson met last night with Primary Industries Council chairman Ian Robb, Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium chairman Mark Leslie, and Peter O’Hara, the lead author of a major assessment report on agricultural emissions research.

All agreed progress had been made on the development of a science plan to meet the Government’s objectives for an expanded industry-funded research programme that would deliver productivity benefits for farmers.

Mr Sutton and Mr Hodgson said the robust and comprehensive industry-funded research programme that the Government’s climate change policy calls for appeared to be coming together.

“We are optimistic, on this basis, that the sector will come through with a self-funded science programme to meet both environmental needs and farm productivity opportunities in this important field of research. Further analysis of the proposed science plan is needed, but the research and funding it involves should be enough to remove the need for a statutory levy.

“The Government’s preference has always been for industry funding of this research, with a statutory levy as an option if the research effort was insufficient. We will be pleased to avoid a levy if possible.”

Mr Robb said industry-led and funded research, based on clear objectives and a sound business and research plan, was the best way to achieve a win-win for farmers and the environment.

He said the consortium, which existed before the statutory levy proposal was announced, was well-supported in the farming community. Negotiations with the Government had added research priorities to those already under way, particularly research into nitrous oxide emissions.

The consortium is funded by Fonterra, Dairy Insight, DEEResearch, Meat New Zealand, and Wrightsons. It has also received some public funds from the Foundation for Research, Science, and Technology. AgResearch is a member and science provider to the consortium. The New Zealand Fertiliser Manufacturers Research Association is also finalising its involvement in the consortium.




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