Farmers are not the "big bad beasts" of climate change says Maori Party co-leader and list MP Marama Fox.

She said she supported the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright's recommendations this week to establish a Climate Commission and follow countries like Britain to legislate emission targets and government accountability.

Fox is one of two Hawke's Bay MPs on the New Zealand parliamentary chapter of the Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE),

She said while she supported Dr Wright's recommendations GLOBE was making good progress, commissioning a report that on what New Zealand needed to do to become a zero-emissions country.


The second Hawke's Bay GLOBE member is Wairarapa National MP Alastair Scott.

He said a legislative framework was unnecessary.

"We have committed to the Paris climate accord so we have goals we are put in stone," he said.

"There are lots of policy and targets that we will be held accountable for. If you don't make the targets you get tipped out.

The Emission Trading Scheme was under review "but we are not putting agriculture in it until we have the technology for that to happen without too much pain."

He said GLOBE members had differing views on how to encourage large-scale afforestation.

"We all like the idea of planting trees to soak up more carbon but it is a matter of how to do that efficiently without costing the taxpayer huge amounts of money, for example, even though it will save the taxpayer money in the long term.

"There is lots of common ground - it is just about how we get to those targets which we all agree on."

Fox said there was support from farmers to meet emission targets.

"Farmers have, all of a sudden, have become very environmentally aware - they are not the big bad beast in this whole problem.

"Yes there are issues faced by farming but we can grow permanent afforestation on marginal land so we can start to offset some of those emissions farming contributes to."

Some farmers had too many cows per ha and her personal opinion was all farms needed diverse income streams, one of which should be permanent afforestation collecting carbon credits.

No one sector should have a finger pointed at it and all people had a role in reducing greenhouse gases, she said.

"Every one of us can reduce our carbon footprint, from separating our rubbish for example to growing our own vegetables.

"It is about growing understanding and certainly for the new generation of young people coming forward, climate change is at the top of their thinking.

"If we can't tackle this now what sort of world will their children inherit?"

"I have no problem at all legislating for targets and we have National Party members in our GLOBE branch and are using internal pressure to try and make that a cross-party policy," Ms Fox said.