NZ farmers demand cancellation of PM Ardern's plans to tax the burps and farts of livestock
New Zealand (NZ) farmers hit the streets on October 20 to join a countrywide protest
against Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's proposal to place a tax on emissions from livestock in a bid to address the climate change issues.
The farmers brought their tractors, 4x4s and farmyard vehicles that interrupted traffic in Wellington and other major cities, demanding cancellation of Ardern's plans to tax burps and farts of livestock. The said levy on livestock's belching and flatulence proposed by the Ardern government would be the first of its kind in the world. (Related: Climate change craziness: New Zealand plans to tax FARTS and BURPS of farm animals
NZ has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become carbon neutral by 2050. That includes a pledge that it will reduce methane emissions from farm animals
by 10 percent by 2030 and by up to 47 percent by 2050.
"No other country in the world has developed a system for pricing and reducing agricultural emissions, so our farmers are set to benefit from being first movers," the prime minister said when she announced the plan. "The key to us is that what we do is workable, it's pragmatic, it can be introduced in a timely way and will actually bring down our emissions."
But this policy angered the Kiwi farmers, calling the tax "punitive." Bryan McKenzie of the farming advocacy group Groundswell NZ, the group that organized the nationwide rally, called the proposed tax "an existential threat to rural communities
"After years of faux consultation, the government has given up on all pretense of a fair and workable agricultural emissions policy," he said.
The group's website published their "We're Not Going To Take It
" campaign, wherein they enumerated several reasons why the flatulence tax is a bad idea.
"The government must stop proposed emissions tax, and undo legislation putting agriculture into the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme)," the group said. "This emissions tax on food production will lead to food scarcity, higher food prices, and more land going into pine trees. This will lead to poor outcomes for rural communities and rural businesses – the government acknowledges this in their document."
"Most farmers have had enough," said one Wellington demonstrator named Chris. "It's getting hard to carry on farming and this government isn't really supporting us – it's a tough gig at the moment."
Even some rural mayors supported the farmers' protest.
"They are a vital contributor to our economy both regionally and nationally and are some of the most sustainable food producers in the world, having one of the lowest carbon footprints," the mayors of Grey, Buller, and Westland said in a statement, referring to the farmers.
According to the mayors, Ardern's tax emissions levy could create food scarcity and higher food prices with a significant economic impact on useable farmland and flow-on effects to small rural communities.
Ardern: Money raised from the levy will be used to incentivize Kiwi farmers
Analysts have observed that climate "alarmists" took the opportunity presented by Ardern's regime – which followed the Netherlands' move to reduce "greenhouse gasses" – to continue to fearmonger.
"This country's rural and agricultural sector has been hard hit by floods, intense storms and droughts this year alone," Emily Bailey of Climate Justice Taranaki said on their social media account. "Farmers can either adapt and rapidly bring down their emissions or they and everyone else will suffer more."
Ardern said all the money collected from the proposed farm levy would be put back into the industry to fund new technology, research and "incentive payments
" for farmers.
"New Zealand's farmers are set to be the first in the world to reduce agricultural emissions, positioning our biggest export market for the competitive advantage that brings in a world increasingly discerning about the provenance of their food," she said.
NZ's Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor touted the act and said that it was an exciting opportunity for the island country and its farmers.
"Farmers are already experiencing the impact of climate change with more regular drought and flooding," O'Connor said. "Taking the lead on agricultural emissions is both good for the environment and our economy."
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