Deer Industry New Zealand supports He waka eke noa

Deer Industry New Zealand supports He waka eke noa

Friday, October 25, 2019

Deer Industry New Zealand supports He waka eke noa
24 October 2019

Deer Industry NZ supports He waka eke noa, the primary sector commitment to develop and implement an effective programme for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from farming.

DINZ chair Ian Walker says he commends the government for backing away from its proposal to move agriculture into the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme, which would have involved the levying of deer farm emissions at meat processors from 2020.

“This would have simply been a tax on deer farmers because it would not have incentivised us to reduce emissions on our individual farms. Those farmers who moved to reduce emissions would have been levied at the same level as those who either did nothing, or increased their emissions,” Walker says.

“We now have the opportunity as farmers to devise systems for measuring and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions in a way that suits our individual farm situations. For many deer farmers I suspect this will be part of an integrated environment plan that includes soil and water protection, as well as greenhouse gas reductions.”

Walker says the environment in which farm animals are raised is becoming increasingly important to customers of NZ venison and velvet. “Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions should be seen not just as a cost, but an opportunity to add value in the marketplace. The challenge for marketers will be to capture some of this added value and return it to farmers.”

NZ Deer Farmers Association chair John Somerville says the government has given the farming industry up to five years to make significant progress in reducing on-farm greenhouse gas emissions.  

“Global climate change is an urgent issue that is important to our customers and to the wellbeing of future generations. Most farmers recognise this and are willing to play their part, even though it will commit them to making changes to their management and involve significant investment,” he says.

“At the same time we are mindful that there is a limit to the emission reductions we can achieve using current technologies. Beyond that small percentage, further reductions will not be achievable without making our farms uneconomic.”

Somerville also notes there are other sectors of the economy where emissions are growing more rapidly than farming. “It will therefore be demotivating for farmers if we don’t see the rest of society matching our commitment to reduce our emissions,” he says.

Walker and Somerville also say they remain deeply disappointed by the decision of the government to retain the much-criticised methane reduction targets in the Zero Carbon Bill.

DINZ and the NZDFA see the methane reduction targets in the Bill – of 10 per cent by 2030 and 24-47 per cent by 2050 – as being unnecessary and unrealistic. Neither level is achievable because the Bill does not allow for on-farm offsetting.

“We will continue to work closely with other primary sector organisations and the government to ensure that our efforts to reduce emissions are based on good science and are practical to apply on the farm,” Walker says.”

For more information, please ring:

DINZ Chief Executive, Innes Moffat, Tel 021 465 121
NZDFA Chair, John Somerville, Tel 027 447 543