Winston Peters. File photo.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters today welcomes the Minister’s announcement of the government’s climate change policies, “the culmination of months of hard work”.
“New Zealand First is pleased that our coalition agreement commitment to introduce a Climate Change Bill has been met,” says Winston.
“This process began when the last National Government signed the country up to the Paris Agreement. From the beginning of this government, New Zealand First has had the agriculture sector’s interests at heart. New Zealand has an internationally unique methane profile given our sheep and dairy farming sector.
“In negotiations, New Zealand First sought to balance the interests of the agricultural sector and the need for the government to take strong action and show leadership on climate change.
“We paid careful attention to, and respected, the weight of officials’ advice around a methane target.”
The 10 per cent reduction target for biogenic methane has a waste component, making the effective bovine-induced biogenic methane target 26.7 per cent, which lands squarely inside a wide range of officials’ advice.
“We also recognise that with this legislation our agricultural sector is facing new responsibilities around farm emissions,” says Winston.
“We are committed to assisting the industry through that transition with discounted emissions costs, better tools and knowledge to help them manage emissions and other environmental factors, as well as increased investment in research and development on ways to reduce emissions.
“New Zealand First will fully consult with the agricultural sector about how it wants the free allocation to agriculture to be fed back to the sector. What proportion of the assistance New Zealand First has secured in this agreement does the sector want channelled directly to farmers to assist their mitigation efforts and what proportion of the free allocation be directed to fund sector-wide research and development into methane inhibitors, vaccines and other new technologies?
“We will listen very closely to, and work with, the agriculture sector about their preferences.”
National welcomes Climate Change Commission
The National Party welcomes today’s announcement of proposed amendments to the Climate Change Response Act as a positive step towards establishing an independent advisory Climate Change Commission, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“While we have found common ground on the Commission’s form and function, the net-zero target for long lived gases, and the separate treatment of methane, we have serious reservations about the expected rate of reduction for methane.
“National was clear on its position, as I outlined at my speech at Fieldays last year. We have taken a principled approach to these negotiations, including seeking different treatment for separate gases, and I am pleased to see this reflected in the Bill.
“We are not convinced that the proposed 24-47 per cent reduction for methane meets our test in terms of science, economic impact or global response.
“We’re committed to taking short term politics out of climate change policy, by having an enduring Commission which will give science-based advice for successive governments.
“New Zealand has been a global leader in sustainable agricultural production. For this leadership to be enhanced the sector must continue to embrace change, but this target goes beyond credible scientific recommendations.
“We have signalled to the Government in earlier discussions that it is exactly the sort of decision a newly formed Climate Commission should advise Parliament on, rather than politicians cherry picking numbers. Waiting five years to finally assess whether it’s fit for purpose is not acceptable.
“National remains committed to finding a bipartisan approach to climate change that delivers the best outcomes for New Zealand.”