ACT pledges to ‘respect’ farmers by repealing Zero Carbon Act, if elected

ACT is making a number of election promises it says will see the rural sector “given the respect it deserves”, including repealing the Zero Carbon Act and the Emissions Trading Scheme. 

Source: Breakfast

ACT’s rural spokesperson Mark Cameron said his party would lead better cooperation between the Government and the rural sector, if it ends up in power. 

“ACT wants to see the rural sector given the respect it deserves. Through Covid-19, the efforts of our farmers raised the level of respect rural New Zealanders get,” Cameron said.

“The environmental efforts of the rural sector should be acknowledged and valued before heavy-handed regulations are put in place.”

Climate change

The party reiterated its climate change policy today, which it first announced early last week. 

If elected, ACT said it would repeal the Zero Carbon Act and the Emissions Trading Scheme and replace them with a “no-nonsense” climate change plan that would see New Zealand’s carbon price tied to that of its top five trading partners. 

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“The [Zero Carbon] law will force us to make significantly deeper emissions cuts than our trading partners and will push economic activity to other countries with lower environmental standards,” Cameron said. 

He said Resource Management Act changes, which allowed councils to consider climate change impacts in consenting decisions from December next year, could potentially slow economic growth. 

ACT is proposing to replace the RMA so farmers can “go about their business with minimal interference”.

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ACT said it would also push to measure methane and other short-lived gases differently.

Cameron proposed using GWP* to take into account methane’s shorter life span in regards to its warming contribution as it could measure emissions impacts using different timescales.

“If [GWP* is] used internationally, it could have a significant impact on New Zealand’s liabilities,” he said.

Cameron said the contribution of methane to global warming had been overestimated through the internationally used 100-year global warming potential measure (GWP100), which estimates the impact of various greenhouse gases relative to carbon dioxide. 

Over a century, one tonne of methane would warm the climate to the effect of approximately 28 tonnes of carbon dioxide when using the GWP100, taking into account methane’s shorter life span and higher energy absorption. So, according to the measure, this puts methane as having 28 times more “global warming potential” than carbon dioxide.

The party also seeks to repeal the ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration permits.

Winter grazing 

Cameron said infringement notices were unfair and impractical because weather could keep ground conditions wet for several months. 

He also proposed moving sowing date windows when crops can be planned and remove pugging limitations.

“ACT will remove all pugging limitations on winter cropping and farmers,” Cameron said.

The party said it was committed to animal welfare.

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Farmers are strongly opposing the laws saying they’re ‘unfarmable’. Source: 1 NEWS

It comes as farmers criticised new winter grazing laws, put in place in early September with the intention to clean up waterways, as “unworkable”.

Winter grazing can’t take place on land with more than a 10 degree angle. It also states pugging - the churning up and pushing down of soil by livestock - can’t be deeper than 20cm, and that farms should be re-sown by November 1.

Federated Farmers Southland president Geoffrey Young said in August the laws were “overly prescriptive”.

“They’re highly aspirational and totally unworkable.”

ACT also released policy on a number of other areas concerning farmers, including forestry, tax, water, regulation and infrastructure.