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NZ to go Dutch to battle climate change

Published: Tue 8 Oct 2019 07:42 PM
NZ to go Dutch to battle climate change
Dutch and Kiwi farmers must innovate together, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte said, announcing a joint cooperation statement on climate change with New Zealand today.
Today’s cooperation statement reiterates the commitments both countries have towards climate change and sets out partnerships between universities, regulators and research organisations.
"The farming sector understands that to have a licence to operate in our society and to have a forward-looking future that we need to innovate so we can have a strong agricultural sector in 20, 50 and 100 years in both countries and we discussed this at length in our talks,” Rutte said.
Despite being geographically slight, the Netherlands is the world's second-biggest agri-food exporter, behind the United States.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the pair talked at length about solutions to methane gas reduction in Auckland today.
“My message to the agriculture community is that methane represents about 50 percent of our emissions profile, unlike most of our OECD counterparts, and we need to act,” Ardern said.
Ardern added that, as part of New Zealand’s free trade agreement talks with the European Union, it was trying to demonstrate sustainable food production.
She said getting a quality trade deal with the EU over the line would “send a strong message about rules-based systems in turbulent times.”
The pair say in a statement they both share strong agricultural traditions and “acknowledge our farming communities as pillars in our economies.”
The duo is encouraging further bilateral cooperation between academics beyond an existing partnership between Wageningen University, which is considered the world’s top agriculture university, and New Zealand’s Massey University.
Industry and research consortium Netherlands’ Food Valley has also partnered with New Zealand’s Food HQ in a move that will see several joint initiatives, the first being a focus on sustainable protein-rich foods.
FoodHQ’s business development manager Amos Palfreyman will be based at Food Valley for three months as part of the exchange of ideas.
The Ministry for Primary Industries will also “enhance their existing relationship” with its Dutch counterpart, the statement sets out.
“For New Zealand and the Netherlands, taking decisive and ambitious action on climate change is a priority and we are committed to embracing this challenge while building a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy,” the joint statement says.
The Netherlands is the sixth-largest economy in the European Union, exporting 65 billion euros worth of vegetables, fruit, flowers, meat and dairy products each year.
New Zealand and the Netherlands are both members of the Carbon Neutrality Coalition which commits them to submitting long term strategies that ensure the global temperature increase is limited to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
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