The Meat Industry Association (MIA) today welcomed the Primary Sector Climate Change Commitment.
John Loughlin, MIA chairman, says uniting the entire primary sector to support the Climate Change Commitment represents a significant achievement.
“This has taken a lot of hard work and compromise by the different industries which make up a very diverse sector. It shows that meat processors and exporters, alongside the rest of the primary sector, are committed to achieving the goal of “zero carbon” in support of the Paris Agreement goals.
“We want to engage with the Government on climate change in a way that is constructive and aimed at delivering practical emissions reductions on-farm. We want to show the New Zealand public that the primary sector is taking the initiative on climate change and looking to make reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Government is currently considering options for achieving emissions reductions from the primary sector.
It is agreed by all parties that the only way this can be done is through the engagement of the people responsible for agricultural emissions – the farmers and growers.
This means creating a system where the farmers and growers have ownership of the system and accountability for achieving reductions. The alternative – an emissions tax on processors based on the Emissions Trading Scheme – will do nothing to reduce on-farm emissions.
Part of the Primary Sector’s Commitment will mean that farmers will pay for their emissions where those emissions are contributing to increased global warming and where the price is set in a way where farmers are properly incentivised to innovate, adopt new technologies and to retire low production farm areas into carbon sequestering activities. It is the things that are done on individual farms that will make a difference.
“The sector is not looking for a free ride or a free allocation,” says Loughlin. “The primary sector has a strong track record in responding to incentives where opportunities are manageable at farm level.
“What we want is sensible emissions pricing that delivers effective emissions reductions without making the sector unviable. That’s because our sector is critical to the prosperity and wealth of the country’s economy, the second largest goods exporter and New Zealand’s largest manufacturing industry.
“The industry directly employs some 25,000 people, mainly in regional New Zealand, supporting the livelihoods of families and rural communities.”
The primary sector is united in a programme of action over the next five years to drive change across nine workstreams and is committed to funding a range of initiatives, he says.
More than $25 million has already been allocated for investment in actions to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change and the sector is willing to do more if further investment is needed for the uptake of improved farm management and new technologies.
“This is a major initiative by the primary sector developed in good faith. We hope the Government embraces this proposal. It is also important that the rest of New Zealand steps up and does its part as climate change is not just a primary sector issue, it is an issue for all New Zealanders.”