Pedersen’s parting shot: NZ’ders should pay even more for food

Press release - June 25, 2008
At a time when New Zealanders are already struggling with soaring food prices, outgoing President of Federated Farmers Charlie Pedersen is calling for them to fork out even more to pay for the agriculture sector’s emissions.

Pedersen is calling for a "green tax" - or a charge on all food at the point of sale, which would help cover the cost to agriculture of proposed climate change legislation.

"Asking the taxpayer to pay more for food so the agriculture sector can continue with business as usual is going to leave a very bitter taste in New Zealanders' mouths," said Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Simon Boxer. "This is a blatant attempt to exempt the sector even further from taking responsibility for its emissions.

"New Zealanders are already covering 100 per cent of the cost of the sector's emissions under the emissions trading scheme (ETS) until 2013, and after that, 90 per cent of those emissions are covered by taxpayer subsidies until 2018. To ask for even more of a subsidy is outrageous."

The sector, which is responsible for half of all New Zealand's emissions, is already exempt from the government's proposed emissions trading scheme until 2013, care of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in 2004. And when it is brought it, 90 of its emissions are covered by free

Under the MOU, taxpayers cover the cost of its emissions until 2013 in exchange for a promise from the sector that it would do research aimed at reducing its emissions by 20% by the same year.

However, Greenpeace has revealed that the agriculture sector has no intention of delivering on its side of the bargain. (1)

"Every time the agricultural industry wiggles out of paying for its pollution, New Zealanders pick up the bill through their taxes. This is a huge equity issue, not to mention a huge issue for the environment. Until the sector is given an incentive to improve practices, the environment will continue to suffer, along with taxpayers."

Greenpeace is calling for the MOU to be torn up, and for agriculture to be brought into the ETS by or in 2010.

Other contacts: Simon Boxer – Greenpeace Climate Campaigner - 021 905 579 Kathy Cumming – Greenpeace Communications - 021 495 216

Notes: The business plan of the organisation set up to deliver the emission reductions reveals it was never the organisation’s intention to achieve 20 per cent reductions. The Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium is the industry body set up to deliver on the agriculture sector's side of the bargain. In the most recent report on the PGGRC's website, the consortium revealed that its business plan is only aimed at reducing emissions intensity by 10% by 2013.

Exp. contact date: 2008-11-19 00:00:00