Federated Farmers Submission for the New Zealand Productivity Commission for its Inquiry into Low Emissions Economy 

Federated Farmers agrees that it is important to investigate how New Zealand can maximise the opportunities and minimise the costs and risks of transitioning to a lower net-emissions economy. The New Zealand Productivity Commission is a highly regarded and respected institution and since its establishment in 2011 it has developed a track record of high quality work. It is an ideal body to undertake such an important inquiry.

Federated Farmers takes the issue of climate change and policy responses seriously. In February 2017 Federated Farmers’ National Council adopted an updated policy position on climate change. The position is attached as an appendix to this submission. This submission, including the answers to the consultation questions, is informed by and consistent with the updated policy position.

Climate change is first and foremost a global issue. While it is important to look at how New Zealand can transition to a low emissions economy, it is equally important to recognise that New Zealand food production is among the most efficient in the world, which is good for global emissions from agriculture.

Federated Farmers considers that the main focus for reducing emissions should be on transport, heating and industry, and greater efficiency and less waste in all sectors. Although productivity and efficiency gains have been (and are expected to continue) reducing agricultural biological emissions incrementally, it is currently not possible to significantly reduce emissions without significantly reducing agricultural production. This would have severe economic impacts on farms, regional economies, and the national economy yet would make no impact on global emissions. In fact, global emissions would most probably rise as New Zealand’s highly efficient and less emissions-intensive agricultural production is displaced by less efficient and more emissions-intensive production overseas.

Therefore, the Federation considers that a ‘two baskets’ approach should be adopted, with agricultural biological emissions kept out of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) until cost-effective mitigation technologies are available and international trading partners include equivalent emissions in their domestic climate change policies.

For more, please see the full submission