New Zealand’s left-wing government on Tuesday proposed taxing the gasses farm animals create from burping and peeing as part of a plan to reset agricultural production and “tackle climate change.”
The Labour administration led by Jacinda Ardern, a former president of the International Union of Socialist Youth , claimed what it called a farm levy would be a world first and farmers should be able to recoup the cost by simply charging consumers more for their products.
Ardern and three of her ministers stood behind a podium of hay bales at a North Island dairy farm to unveil the government’s plan, the Guardian reports.
“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 said.
“Cutting emissions will help New Zealand farmers to not only be the best in the world but the best for the world.”
The plan includes taxing both methane emitted by livestock and nitrous oxide emitted mostly from fertiliser-rich urine – which together contributes to around half of New Zealand’s overall emissions output.
Farmers quickly condemned the proposal, which would be introduced in 2025, coming just months after other Ardern restrictions including forced impositions on gun ownership as part of wider social crackdowns and restrictions.
Left-wing New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern received a rapturous response Thursday at Harvard University as she outlined her government’s commitment to strict gun control laws, linking them to the defense of democracy. https://t.co/a8FFYTeCjr
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 27, 2022
Federated Farmers, the industry’s main lobby group, said the tax would “rip the guts out of small-town New Zealand” and affect food production because farms would be replaced with trees while at the same time making beef and lamb consumption a more expensive option.
“Our plan was to keep farmers farming,” Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard told the New Zealand Herald.
Instead, he said farmers would 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”.
Beef and Lamb New Zealand was similarly worried the Ardern government had proposed to reduce the categories of sequestration recognised.
“New Zealand sheep and beef farmers have more than 1.4 million hectares of native forest on their land which is absorbing carbon and it’s only fair this is appropriately recognised in any framework from day one,” its chairman Andrew Morrison said.
Ardern noted the disproportionate impact on sheep and beef farmers and said her government is committed to working through the proposals to find solutions.
There are just five million people in New Zealand, but 10 million beef and dairy cattle, and 26 million sheep.