Wednesday, 6 November 2019
For immediate release
DairyNZ Chief Executive Dr Tim Mackle is describing the Zero Carbon Bill as a ‘mixed bag’ for farmers, while urging all
political parties to work together to find consensus on a pathway forward.
“The agricultural sector has engaged positively and constructively in this process over the past 18 months to help craft
a piece of legislation that is both consistent with a 1.5-degree pathway and fair for farmers” Dr Mackle said.
“We support the key architecture in the Bill. This includes the establishment of an Independent Climate Change
Commission, carbon budgeting and, in particular, a split gas approach that recognises methane is different to other
The key point of contention remains the methane reduction targets.
“Both farmers, officials, and politicians have sought a science-based target for methane, but the sheer breadth of
differing scientific opinion and politics has ultimately made this a difficult exercise for all involved” Dr Mackle
“DairyNZ remain firmly opposed to the Governments methane reduction range of 24 – 47% as we believe it is out of step
with what science requires and rural economies can sustain.
“That being said, sending the target to the Commission for review could be a pragmatic way to give everyone confidence
that a scientifically sound approach has been taken.
“Farmers have never been afraid of the facts. They simply want a methane target that is fair and firmly grounded in the
best available science, applied in a New Zealand context.
“We strongly encourage a review of the methane target by the Commission as early as possible – preferably by 2021 in
time for the setting of the first emissions budgets” Dr Mackle said.
An independent Commission is best placed to explore the IPCC’s global scenarios, the assumptions they have made, and
whether or not broadly aligning with the central range of these scenarios is an appropriate target for New Zealand’s
biological methane from agriculture.
“Like any piece of legislation, there are elements that we would write differently if we were holding the pen - but it
is time to move forward and focus on reducing emissions, not look backwards” Dr Mackle said.
“As we approach the final stages of the Zero Carbon Bill’s progression through the legislative process, we are calling
on politicians of all parties to sharpen their focus and to be open to compromise that will ensure bipartisan support is
“We believe that achieving genuine bipartisan support is the best and only way to ensure this legislation is enduring.
“DairyNZ will now be focusing on supporting our farmers to reduce their emissions in a way that utilises emerging
technology, leverages the competitive advantages of our pasture-based system, and underpins our global position.
“New Zealand dairy farmers are the most emissions efficient in the world. We have an international reputation for
sustainability, and we want to keep it that way” Dr Mackle concluded.