The Green Party said today it would not support any Government moves to introduce a "flatulence tax" on farm animals as
a way of meeting Kyoto Protocol targets.
"A methane tax is being bandied around by groups campaigning against implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, but as far as
the Greens are concerned, it's a load of hot air," said co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.
"Any flatulence tax proposed by the Government would be gone with the wind if they needed Green support to bring it in."
Ms Fitzsimons said she was not aware of any Government proposals to introduce a tax on methane emissions from sheep and
cows. However she was surprised that the Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton refused to rule it out in Parliament yesterday.
"I want to make it crystal clear that the Green Party will not support either a budget or legislation that brought in a
methane tax on animals as a way to meet our Kyoto obligations."
Ms Fitzsimons said the only point in taxing greenhouse gas emissions is as an incentive to reduce them.
"There is no way of reducing methane from cows and sheep except by reducing their numbers. There is promising research
in some areas but it will not give us viable alternatives for some time.
"The last thing we want to do as an economy dependent on agriculture is to put financial pressure on farmers to cut back
the numbers of sheep and cow when they have no alternatives.
"We should focus policy on the emissions which are easy and cost effective to reduce like energy use and on those
growing fastest like transport and electricity generation. A carbon tax on fossil fuels could help but other measures
could also contribute."