A memorandum of understanding between the Government and agribusiness leaders as part of the establishment of the Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions – involving am investment of $172 million from all parties to the agreement – was announced by the Government early this week.
This was quickly supported by the National Party .
“The Government needs to work constructively with our farmers to enable them to continue to lead the world in lowering agricultural emissions,” National’s Agriculture spokesperson Barbara Kuriger said.
“Science and technology will play a big part in that, so government funding should be directed towards progressing innovative developments in this space.”
Announcing the signing, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the memorandum of understanding took New Zealand’s effort to reduce agricultural emissions a step forward.
The Ministry for Primary Industries signed the agreement alongside representatives from ANZCO Foods, Fonterra, Ngāi Tahu Holdings, Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms and Synlait.
“We are committed to reducing agricultural emissions and for this we need to get new tools and technology into the hands of farmers as soon as possible. This joint venture will be a combined effort by government and industry to achieve this,” Damien O’Connor said.
“It will be a long-term partnership with industry funding being matched by the Government.
“Initial indicative commitments would see around $172 million invested over the next four years by industry and government to develop and commercialise practical tools and technologies for farmers.”
This includes $7.75 million by industry this financial year.
“New Zealand can be, and should be, a leader in developing innovative new tools and technologies to reduce emissions on-farm, and be the one other countries can look to,” Damien O’Connor said.
The joint venture is a key component of the Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions, which was announced in Budget 2022 as part of the $338.7 million in funding allocated over the next four years to strengthen the role of research and development for new tools and technologies to reduce on-farm emissions. This includes the Government’s funding component of the joint venture.
The agriculture sector contributes 50 per cent of New Zealand’s gross greenhouse gas emissions, and around 91 per cent of our biogenic methane emissions.
The Government has committed to a net-zero target for 2050 and reducing biogenic methane emissions by 10 per cent by 2030, relative to 2017 levels, and 24 to 47 per cent lower by 2050.
National’s Barbara Kuriger says National supports the Government’s current emissions targets and budgets.
“Our agricultural sector is currently worth $52 billion to New Zealand, and our farmers are already the world’s lowest emitters.
The Green Party was critical of the farm sector’s He Waka Eke Noa agricultural emissions pricing proposal a few weeks ago, saying it leaves more questions than answers
“The number one priority has to be reducing emissions to meet the targets and ensure a safe climate for future generations, but it’s not clear if or how the sector’s proposal will do that,” Green Party agriculture spokesperson Teanau Tuiono said then.
AgScience can find no press release from the Greens to record their view of the memorandum of understanding announced by Mr O’Connor.
Sources: Minister of Agriculture; National Party