Criticism of the Government's "ambitious" zero carbon bill has come in thick and fast from groups on both sides of the argument.

While farming groups have slammed the legislation as "cruel," environmental organisations have labelled it as "toothless".

After months of delays, the Government this morning unveiled its zero carbon bill which will create a "split target" when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases.

By 2050, the goal is for all greenhouse emissions – aside from biogenic methane – to be reduced to net zero.


Biogenic methane – the emissions created from livestock such as sheep and cattle – is not completely exempt, as the bill commits to reducing it to 10 per cent below the 2017 levels by 2030.

The bill also commits to reducing gross emissions of biogenic methane to between 24-47 per cent below the 2017 levels, by 2050.

It is these final two points that have alarmed Federated Farmers.

Its climate change spokesman Andrew Hoggard said these targets would send a message to farmers that New Zealand is prepared to give up on pastoral farming.

"This decision is frustratingly cruel, because there is nothing I can do on my farm today that will give me confidence I can ever achieve these targets."

He said the Government was "arbitrarily" targeting businesses based on a "random selection of report" and incomplete data.

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He said the 10 per cent target, over a 10-year timeframe, was "unheard of anywhere else on the planet".

Beef and Lamb was also "deeply concerned" at the methane targets.


The proposed reduction significantly exceeds both New Zealand's, and global scientific, advice, Beef and Lamb chairman, Andrew Morrison said.

"The Government is asking more of agriculture than fossil fuel emitters elsewhere in the economy."

Greenpeace executive director, and former Green Party leader Russel Norman, called the bill "toothless," and said it had "bark, but no bite".

Although the bill would help bring, and keep, New Zealand in line with the Paris Climate agreement, to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees by 2050, Norman says the Bill will have little direct effect.

This is, he said, because it has specifically written out any mechanism that would hold any person or body to account for not adhering to it.

"What we've got here is a reasonably ambitious piece of legislation that's then had the teeth ripped out of it. There's bark, but there's no bite," he says.