New Zealand goes where 26 other global alliance members don’t

Federated Farmers media release:

6 April 2010

While Federated Farmers is restating its support for the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, it’s also cautioning that New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) means the country is going where the other 26 nation members aren’t.
“Yes the world is fully behind New Zealand, in fact, they’re a long way behind us looking on while the New Zealand Government prods our farmers out into an ETS no mans land,” says Federated Farmers President, Don Nicolson.
“The ETS is a policy solution borne out of a disproportionate sense of environmental noblesse oblige.  We’re going where the 26 other members of the Global Research Alliance fear to tread – including agriculture in their respective ETS type responses. 

“The New Zealand ETS is really an ‘efficiency transfer scheme’ as we’re giving away our competitive advantage to level a playing field that no other country is demanding of us.  It reflects what we think others around the world think of us and not what they actually do.
“Any ETS should stand for efficiency, technology and science and if the Global Research Alliance delivers that, then we’ll be over the moon.
“Yet the stakes for every New Zealander are incredibly high as the ETS is playing with economic fire.  What’s at stake is agriculture’s year-on-year multi-factor productivity increase of 1.8 percent in the past two decades.  That’s outstripped every other sector of the economy and contrasts sharply with last month’s fall in labour force productivity.

“The big difference is that agriculture contributes 64 percent of everything we sell to the rest of the world, which pays for our hospitals, our police and even, our politicians.  We seem to have forgotten that ruminant emissions are a natural gas so no emissions, no exports and frankly, no economy either.
“Our efficiency since 1990 means we are producing 7 percent more lamb but from 55 percent fewer sheep.  With beef, our meat volumes are up 23 percent but from 11 percent fewer cattle.  Meanwhile dairy production growth per cow has averaged 26 percent since 1990.
“This massive gain in farm productivity is New Zealand’s most under reported success story.  Farmers are that thin line of gumboots keeping New Zealand as a first world nation.
“But while the world wants a lot more from us, the ETS becomes another tax on agriculture at a time when our net profit has declined from 16.4 cents to 6.2 cents out of every farm gate dollar we earned New Zealand over the past season. 
“As an industry we are committed to the four ‘P’s’ of production, productivity, progress and profit. Yet what’s our reward?  An ETS that skims yet more cream off our reduced bottom lines with the hope that the Global Alliance will deliver more than hot air,” Mr Nicolson concluded.


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