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As the Independent Climate Change Commission delivers its final advice, DairyNZ is calling on the Government to deliver not only a pragmatic emissions reduction plan – but the funding and support to achieve it too.
Dairy farmers were committed to reducing emissions – but the Government needed to set them up to succeed, DairyNZ chief executive, Dr Tim Mackle said in a statement.
That meant having clear and achievable targets, pragmatic timeframes, and an appropriate level of Government investment in tools and technologies to help dairy farmers reduce emissions, Mackle said.
Kiwi dairy farmers were already the most emission efficient producers of milk in the world, but there was always room to improve, Mackle said.
"Unfortunately, we have already pulled many of the levers we have to reduce our footprint. Although we are always exploring new solutions through R&D, these take both time and money."
While Budget 2021 delivered significant investment to help urban New Zealanders reduce their CO2 emissions, there was nowhere near the same level of support for rural communities, Mackle said.
Listen to Jamie Mackay interview Dr Tim Mackle on World Milk Day, Moving Day and the Climate Change Commission on The Country below:
The Commission was clear in its draft advice that there was a need for focus on both research and development and digital connectivity if rural communities were to halt further warming, Mackle said.
"Investment in R&D is going to be critical if New Zealand is to meet our highly ambitious methane reduction targets without severe impacts for rural communities and the New Zealand economy."
The dairy sector wanted to work with the Government to deliver a clear long-term science strategy that would ensure funding was directed to the right places, Mackle said.
"This must be an urgent priority."
Digital connectivity continued to be an issue for farmers, with 50 per cent saying they didn't have the broadband they needed on-farm, Mackle said.
"This needs to be urgently addressed to enable the uptake of new technologies to support emission reductions on farm."
DairyNZ was also concerned with elements of the Commission's draft advice around methane reduction timelines, that went further and faster than required in the Zero Carbon Act.
DairyNZ expected to see this changed, Mackle said.
"Farmers need confidence the goalposts won't continue to shift so they can make the long-term, and often expensive, investments and changes needed to reduce emissions."
DairyNZ provided comprehensive feedback to the Commission on its draft proposal.