Federated Farmers says it is pleased to be working with the government via the industry's He Waka Eke Noa plan but continues to oppose agriculture entering the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Federated Farmers released a statement saying it has worked hard and in good faith "to begin this phase of the long journey of further improving the low emissions footprint of farming in New Zealand".

"He Waka Eke Noa is clear that the ETS has not worked to lower emissions and will not work for agriculture" Federated Farmers vice president and climate change spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said.

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The Feds say it supports New Zealand playing its part in addressing climate change by pursuing action consistent with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, including recognising the fundamental priority of food production.

As outlined in He Waka Eke Noa:

"This document outlines our collective commitment in response to the challenges posed by climate change and to contribute to the global effort under the Paris Agreement to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5 Celsius above pre-industrial levels, whilst maintaining food production. It represents a high-level statement of our vision for, and commitment to, reducing agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Federated Farmers vice president Andrew Hoggard. Photo / Supplied
Federated Farmers vice president Andrew Hoggard. Photo / Supplied

"We will adapt to climate change, while enhancing our reputation for safe and sustainable food production and maintaining our competitiveness in international markets."

However Federated Farmers says it does not support agricultural emissions going into the ETS from 2025 "or at any other time" without significant technological and regulatory developments becoming available to farmers.

"We need more tools in the tool box. We are looking forward to exploring all these avenues further with government.

"New Zealanders also need to realise that any reduction in emissions achieved here through reduced production, will likely only be replaced with production in countries that have higher emissions per unit of output, and usually by subsidised farming sectors" said Hoggard.

Listen to Andy Thompson's interview with Andrew Hoggard on The Country:

Federated Farmers' statement says it believes the pricing of agricultural emissions, via the ETS or any other mechanism, should only be considered if:

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• It occurs at the margin for methane (where additional warming occurs) and not on the inaccurate 'GWP100' value.

• It occurs to incentivise the use of a cost-effective mitigation tool that is available, with regulatory approval, to farmers. None are currently available.

• New Zealand farmers are not put at a disadvantage to our main international competitors.

As outlined in He Waka Eke Noa:

"The sector will work with government to design a pricing mechanism where any price is part of a broader framework to support on-farm practice change, set at the margin and only to the extent necessary to incentivise the uptake of economically viable opportunities that contribute to lower global emissions.

"The primary sector's proposed five year programme of action is aimed at ensuring farmers and growers are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to deliver emissions reductions while maintaining profitability.

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"Our sustainable climate change policy is not only backed by sound national and international science but is also strongly supported by our members".

Feds members had been consulted on numerous occasions, most recently by an online member survey, undertaken in June 2019 which received 1277 responses.

96.55 per cent of those surveyed believed that agriculture should not be in the ETS.

"He Waka Eke Noa represents a cutting edge and grass roots means of lowering new Zealand's agricultural emissions in an manner that serves as a template to the rest of the world, slugging farmers with another tax via the ETS is simply not" said Hoggard.