Meat & Livestock News

New Zealand Farmers Challenge Methane Tax Proposals, Citing Latest Science

The Methane Science Accord, a group backed by numerous prominent farmers, is intensifying its campaign against the proposed taxation of methane emissions in New Zealand. The group argues that such a tax is “unscientific, unjustified, and economic insanity.”

The Methane Science Accord

Comprising influential farmers like Jane Smith, Hamish Carswell, Derek Daniell, and others, the Methane Science Accord aims to educate both rural and urban communities on the issue.

The group has garnered support from hundreds of farmers and is also backed by organisations such as Groundswell, FARM, 50 Shades of Green, and the Rural Advocacy Group. They are inviting more farmers to join their cause.

The Science Behind Methane

According to the accord, the latest scientific findings indicate that ruminant methane—emissions from sheep and cattle—is too trivial to be accurately measured and therefore should not be taxed. “The most recent, unrefuted science is clear—methane’s ability to warm is too inconsequential to measure or be taxed,” the group states.

Political and Economic Implications

The group contends that the outgoing government and other political parties have been making threats based on flawed science.

They argue that the proposed methane tax could have devastating effects on rural communities. Government and agricultural industry models predict a loss of 20% in sheep and beef production, along with a 5% decline in dairy output. “Our country cannot afford that cost,” the group warns.

Financial Burden on Farmers

The Methane Science Accord estimates that a methane tax could cost the average farmer over $100,000, depending on the carbon price. They question the rationale behind such a tax, asking, “Why pay when they cannot tell you how much warming your farm is producing?”

International Trade and Industry Concerns

The group dismisses claims that international customers will take action if methane emissions are not taxed. They believe that individual exporters should handle such demands from their customers. “Why should one company force a tax on all farmers to satisfy their consumers?” they ask.

Use of Tax Revenue

The accord also challenges the notion that money collected from methane taxes will be reinvested in the industry. They point out that more than $700 million has already been allocated and spent on what they describe as “dubious pursuits.”

Criticism of Levy Bodies

The group criticises levy organisations that have supported the methane tax, describing them as out of step with farmers. “They will have to answer to levy payers,” the accord states.

The Methane Science Accord is ramping up its efforts to challenge the proposed methane tax, armed with what they claim is the most recent and unrefuted science.

With significant economic and social implications at stake, the group is calling for a more nuanced approach to the issue.