Colmar Brunton Survey: 'No' to farm animals in ETS

Federated Farmers media release

23 September 2009
A Colmar Brunton national survey of 1004 respondents has found only 29 percent of respondents back the inclusion of agriculture in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).  The survey was undertaken in mid-September following the National/Maori Party accommodation.
“This Colmar Brunton survey is a big wake-up call for Government following this week’s UN climate summit in New York,” says Don Nicolson, Federated Farmers President.
“43 percent of people believe New Zealand’s agricultural sector should be excluded from the ETS if other countries don’t include their agricultural sector as well. 
“That’s a big slice of the population and reflects widespread concern that New Zealand is rushing in headlong, while big emitters like the United States, China and the European Union show no intention of putting their farmers in to their response.
“New Zealanders are saying ‘non’ to the inclusion of the agricultural sector if the world’s largest dairy exporter, the European Union, keeps its farmers out.  They are also saying ‘no way, Jose’ if the United States, the world’s number three dairy exporter, gives their farmers a free pass as well.
“Subsidised farmers in the US and the EU will get their subsidy cake and eat from the environment while Kiwi farmers will be punished for farming without subsidy. 
“There’s no way New Zealand’s exclusion of natural biological emissions arising within the farm gate can be labelled a free ride.  If an ETS is implemented, farmers will be paying on the fuel, food, energy, building materials, animal remedies and fertiliser with everybody else. 
“That’s an awful lot more than can be said of the EU and the US despite the hyperbole.
“The Colmar Brunton survey also found New Zealanders were underwhelmed by the Government’s current investment in research.
“Only 21 percent thought current research funding to be adequate, while 42 percent effectively backed Federated Farmers call for a percentage of GDP, of around 0.05 percent, to be put in to low carbon technologies and agricultural emissions research. 
“A big push in research will pay handsome dividends, as the current ability of farmers to reduce on-farm emissions effectively boils down to reducing stock levels and that means less exports. 
“What New Zealanders are telling the Government is that if we are to jump through any ETS hoop, then it ought to be an equal opportunity disadvantage, with all farmers in all nations included,” Mr Nicolson concluded.  
Colmar Brunton Survey Questions:
Q1. The Government has legislated for an emissions trading scheme, in which greenhouse emitting gas businesses will be required to buy carbon credits.  While other countries are not putting their agricultural sectors into such schemes, New Zealand is. 
Do you agree or disagree with the agricultural sector being included in the New Zealand scheme?
AGREE:                      29 percent
DISAGREE:                43 percent
DON’T KNOW:           28 percent
Base: All respondents n=1,004
Q2. The Government currently contributes $5 million annually to research aiming to lower greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector.  Federated Farmers is advocating for a proportion of Gross Domestic Product, equivalent to around $87 million annually, be spent in this area as well as on low carbon technologies.
Do you agree with Federated Farmers suggestion?
YES:                            42 percent
NO:                              21 percent
DON’T KNOW:           36 percent
Base: All respondents n=1,004