New Zealand proposes taxing "cow burps, farts"
New Zealand’s controversial plan to tax cow burps and farts is angering farmers, who warned that the proposal could prompt many of them to sell up.
In an effort to combat climate change, New Zealand has proposed taxing livestock emissions.
The proposed levy, according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, is “an important step forward in New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions future and delivers on our promise to price agriculture emissions from 2025,”
“No other country in the world has yet developed a system for pricing and reducing agricultural emissions, so our farmers are set to benefit from being first movers", Ardern told a press conference.
The bill, which was first introduced in part in May, is scheduled to go into effect in 2025.
It is also worth noting that a bill consultation was launched this week and will run until November 18 to address details of the proposal such as levies, transition assistance, and sequestration.
New Zealand is a major livestock and meat producer, with meat being their second largest export, generating the country about $10 billion in revenue in 2021, as per the Meat Industry Association.
Furthermore, the Ministry for the Environment reported that agriculture accounts for half of New Zealand's total emissions, accounting for 94% of nitrous oxide emissions and approximately 91% of biogenic methane emissions.
While the proposal to tax cattle emissions promises to reinvest tax revenue "into new technology, research, and incentive payments to farmers," the Federated Farmers of New Zealand was outraged, calling it "gut-wrenching."
“We didn’t sign up for this. It’s gut-wrenching to think we now have this proposal from the government, which rips the heart out of the work we did. Out of the families who farm this land,” said Andrew Hoggard, the president of Federated Farmers.
“Our plan was to keep farmers farming. Now they’ll be selling up so fast you won’t even hear the dogs barking on the back of the ute as they drive off,” he added.
Andrew Morrison, the chairman of Beef+Lamb New Zealand, expressed concern, if not outright opposition, to the proposal.
“We need to further analyze these changes carefully, but one area of immediate concern is the proposed changes to sequestration, which is of real importance to sheep and beef farmers,” said Morrison.
“We know we have a role to play in addressing climate change and our farmers are among the first to feel the effects of it,” he added.
In short, farmers have criticized the plans, stressing that they will be forced to sell up.
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