New Zealand Will Tax Farm Emissions by 2025- A World First, Says Prime Minister

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On Tuesday, New Zealand’s government proposed a tax on farming emissions. Al Jazeera reports “Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told reporters the proposal would make New Zealand’s farmers not only the best in the world but the best for the world.”

The tax would take effect by 2025, but it has already generated criticism.

Here are some specifics:

Why Was The Policy Proposed?

Photo by David Dolenc
Photo by David Dolenc

The chief reason is to combat climate change.

According to Al Jazeera, “New Zealand’s government has proposed taxing the greenhouse gasses that farm animals make from burping and peeing.”

Moreover, the government hopes to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions “and make the nation carbon neutral by 2050.”

“Part of that plan includes a commitment to reduce methane emissions from farm animals by 10 percent by 2030 and by up to 47 percent by 2050.”

Where Do New Zealand's Greenhouse Gas Emissions Come From?

Photo by Dan Meyers
Photo by Dan Meyers

Al Jazeera explains that “nearly half of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, which was previously exempted from the country’s emissions trading scheme.”

Prime Minister Ardern said, “New Zealand’s farmers are set to be the first in the world to reduce agricultural emissions, positioning our biggest export market for the competitive advantage that brings in a world increasingly discerning about the provenance of their food.”

New Zealand is home to “10 million beef and dairy cattle and 26 million sheep.”


The Prime Minister Has Spoken About Climate Change Before

Photo by Markus Spiske
Photo by Markus Spiske

This isn’t the first time Prime Minister Ardern has voiced her climate change concerns.

In 2020, she declared a “climate emergency.” She added that it was “an acknowledgement of the next generation and of the burden we will carry if we do not get this right and do not take action now.”


What Are Opponents Of The Policy Saying?

Photo by Hari Gaddigopula
Photo by Hari Gaddigopula

Not all farmers are in favor.

A group called Federated Farmer claims the levy would effectively disembowel “small- town New Zealand.”

They added, “it would affect food production because farms would be replaced with trees.”

The president of the group, Andrew Hoggard, claims “farmers will be selling their farms so fast you won’t even hear the dogs barking on the back of the ute (pickup truck) as they drive off”.