RNZ today reported National Party claims that the government has killed the He Waka Eke Noa plan, and that it is no longer a bipartisan process.
Newshub has reported on National’s position, too, saying:
“The National Party has found itself fighting off a farming flip-flop.
“Leader Christopher Luxon has revealed the party is pulling its support for He Waka Eke Noa – a group made up of industry leaders trying to put a price on agricultural emissions.”
RNZ described He Waka Eke Noa as a partnership between farmers, agricultural sector industry bodies and Māori with input from Primary Industries and Environment ministries, formed to price greenhouse gas emissions at farm level.
Party leader Christopher Luxon is quoted by RNZ as saying the government was no longer working in consensus with the sector on its agricultural emissions plan.
He said his party had been deeply supportive of the plan, but the government lost all the consensus gained with the He Waka Eke Noa over the years.
“We’ve been deeply supportive of it,” he told Morning Report.
“We wanted an industry developed solution. We supported the government on it. We supported the sector. We said let’s get the sector led response.
“The sector came forward at the end of the May and the government said stuff that, we’re not doing that and ended up blowing the whole thing up.”
Mr Luxon said the National party will be releasing its climate and agricultural emissions policy in the next few weeks.
Newshub reported Mr Luxon as saying National wanted to go back to the drawing board.
“We’ve been very supportive of the industry developing its own solution,” he told AM on Wednesday.
“Sadly, what happened is the Government blew it up and it actually killed it itself,” Mr Luxon said of He Waka Eke Noa.
Mr Luxon noted National was going back to “first principles” to work with the agriculture sector.
“We’ll have more to say about that in the coming weeks.”
Speaking to AM co-host Laura Tupou, Mr Luxon said National wanted a “sensible” agricultural emissions policy.
“We’ve been having conversations with the sector about that for the last year or so but, sadly, what happened was the industry worked for two years to get a consensus together, gave it to the Government… and then the Government went and blew it all up and, as a result, there isn’t any consensus around what He Waka Eke Noa actually is any more.
“There’s not buy-in from the sector, anymore, about what the Government proposed.”
According to Mr Luxon, the National Party wouldn’t repeal the Zero Carbon Act if elected in October – something fellow right-bloc ACT wanted to do.
“We are deeply committed to making sure we meet all our Paris climate commitments and that includes carbon-zero by 2050. That’s a piece of legislation that I’m proud the National Party supported,” Mr Luxon said.
He said climate change was “real, it’s happening” but the National Party’s view of how New Zealand delivered its goals differed from Labour’s.
“Don’t mistake that our deep commitment to climate change goals is rock solid,” Mr Luxon said.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the Government was “deeply committed” to pricing farming emissions.
“Global trends and consumer expectations are changing and it is imperative that we continue to lift our sustainability credentials and future proof our export growth,” he said in Parliament last week.
On Tuesday, Federated Farmers told the NZ Herald He Waka Eke Noa was “sleepy, not dead”.
Sources: RNZ and Newshub