Landcorp yet to tackle greenhouse challenge, select committee says

By Malcolm Burgess

Landcorp has done nothing to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and has not even begun considering how the problem might be addressed.

The state-owned corporate farmer was lambasted by Parliament's primary produce select committee in its latest report for neglecting to consider how it might reduce its carbon footprint, despite Prime Minister Helen Clark's expressed goal that New Zealand become carbon neutral.

"We were ... surprised to learn that Landcorp has not yet measured its own carbon footprint, or considered how it might achieve carbon neutrality," the select committee said.

New Zealand's agricultural sector produces almost half of the country's greenhouse emissions in the form of nitrous oxide and methane emissions, according to the Government.

In its review of Landcorp's 2005/2006 financial year, the committee also took issue with Landcorp's suggestion that the onus for change on this issue lay with its customers and consumers.

The committee, chaired by National's agriculture spokesman David Carter, recognised Landcorp's involvement in a number of climate-change-related research projects with other companies. But it highlighted the fact that Landcorp had acknowledged its provision of sites for wind farm projects was primarily a revenue opportunity.

The report also noted the "significant media coverage" Landcorp had received over the deforestation of around 25,000 hectares in the central North Island and how "[Landcorp] informed us that it does not own the land or the trees, and is therefore simply carrying out a commercial farming conversion".

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