Fight ETS together, farmer says.

Fight ETS together, farmer says
By Blair Ensor - The Marlborough Express

Last updated 13:25 09/09/2009

Farmers need to organise the biggest protest ever seen in New Zealand to
stop the proposed emissions trading scheme (ETS), according to Avon Valley
farmer Ralph Mason.

Mr Mason, speaking at the latest monthly Marlborough Federated Farmers
meeting, said he believed 90 per cent of the public would support farmers,
"or we have just got to refuse to pay it".

Marlborough Federated Farmers past president David Dillon, who has been
campaigning against the proposed scheme, said that under the current
proposal, "many of us [farmers] might shut up shop and cover our farms in
pine trees, run a few sheep and cows for home kill and take a long-overdue
holiday on carbon credits. Produce less, get more."

A 132-page parliamentary select committee report was released last Monday.
Four political parties expressed minority views; Labour and the Green Party
were concerned the Government would not go far enough, while ACT and the
Maori Party do not support an emissions trading scheme.

Prime Minister John Key said he was "reasonably confident" of pushing
through an amended scheme before an important international conference on
climate change was held in December.

Mr Dillon suggested New Zealand adopt the ACT party's suggestion of a
low-rate carbon tax and subsidy scheme with further action delayed until
"scientific knowledge" was advanced.

Marlborough Federated Farmers president Geoff Evans said he believed
emissions needed to be limited, but it had to be done reasonably.

"The cost [of the current proposal] to farming is intolerable.

"Agriculture cannot be expected to bail out the rest of New Zealand, as it
has had to do so often in the past.

"It must be excluded from the legislation, as agriculture the world over

Marlborough Federated Farmers forestry chairman Pat O'Sullivan said the
scheme would affect all households, and urban communities would be paying
more for commodities if a carbon tax eventuated.

"We have to take everyone with us ... but until it starts hitting them
[urban people] in the pocket, they won't wake up to the reality."

It was suggested that a public debate on climate change be organised.

The Government is close to reaching a deal with Labour on the scheme, but
there is still a difference of opinion over how much protection major
emitters should get from carbon costs when they increase production.

National wants heavy emitters to be protected from carbon costs that would
arise when industries such as agriculture increase their output. It is under
heavy pressure from the farming lobby to adopt this approach.

Another controversial issue is the entry date for agriculture into the
scheme. The current suggested start date is 2013, although commentators say
the Government may be tempted to align with Australia's 2015 entry date.