James Shaw defends emissions scheme 'compromise' after Greenpeace labels Govt 'sellouts'

Climate Change Minister and Green Party co-leader James Shaw has defended the changes made to the Emissions Trading Scheme announced yesterday, including harsh criticism from Greenpeace.

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The Climate Change Minister says the new plan is meant to survive successive governments. Source: Breakfast

The Government has moved away from radically reforming the way the farming sector could pay for emissions - but is celebrating what it calls a "world-first" partnership with farming leaders in its attempt to reduce agricultural greenhouse gases, methane and nitrous oxide.

The primary sector is still set to pay for emissions, but not until 2025 - with farmers getting off seemingly lightly in the interim.

Greenpeace yesterday branded the Government as "sellouts" for not pulling agriculture emissions into the ETS.

"The Government has buckled to lobbying pressure from the dairy industry and big agri-business," campaigner Gen Toop said.

"An ETS without the sector in it is a joke ... The Government is protecting the short term profits of a few in the dairy and agricultural sector at the expense of the rest of us and the future of our entire planet."

Speaking this morning on TVNZ1's Breakfast programme, Mr Shaw defended the scheme, which he described as "a compromise".

Mr Shaw said the ultimate goal was to introduce legislation which was "going to stick and will survive changes of government".

"Everything that we do in the domain of climate change is going to take effort of three decades - everything that we do has to be durable," Mr Shaw said.

"I believe that we've gotten there with this agreement.

"We know there are farms up and down the country that have reduced their emissions but still increased their productivity - the issue is that not everyone is actually doing it."

Watch the full interview above.