10th June 2021 By Paul Yandall | firstname.lastname@example.org | @foodtickernz
The Climate Change Commission’s final report has met a mixed reaction from food industry groups.
Horticulture New Zealand welcomed the Commission’s recognition that land-use change to horticulture could help the country meet its 2050 zero emissions target.
‘We’re pleased that in its final report to the government, the Climate Change Commission has increased its estimate of how much land could be converted to horticulture, from 2000 hectares a year to 3500 hectares a year,’ said HortNZ chief executive Mike Chapman.
“If horticultural can expand more, it will reduce some of the emission reductions required by other parts of the primary sector, and also reduce reliance on forestry offset.
“The report recognises that in order for horticulture to achieve its full potential, investment will be needed to remove barriers such as water availability and access to labour.”
Chapman said the New Zealand horticulture industry was already one of the most efficient in the world and contributed less than 1% of the country’s agricultural emissions.
“Nevertheless, the industry is committed to working with the Government to enable growers to demonstrate through integrated farm plans, that they are taking action to reduce emissions.”
ExportNZ said it supported the 2050 target but the transition needed to be an affordable journey to ensure manufacturers, food producers and exporters maintained their competitiveness internationally.
“New Zealand needs to transition to a low carbon emissions future along with the rest of the world and we already have a great advantage with our high percentage of renewable electricity,” said ExportNZ executive director Catherine Beard.
She said the government should focus on the emission reduction goal “rather than picking sectoral winners as to how to get there”.
“ExportNZ supports the use of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to cap emissions, allowing trading to find the least cost emission reduction.
“If the ETS has policy consequences that are considered negative for New Zealand, such as too many pine trees being planted on good food producing land, then policy interventions can be made to incentivise natives and marginal land planting.”
Federated Farmers said the the final Climate Change Commission’s recommendations needed to be backed up with significant investment in access to science and technology on-farm, and the people needed to operate it.
However, land-use changes from farming needed to properly incentivised.
“To expect landowners to make land use changes based on the weight of regulation they face, rather than market forces, is unreliable and unlikely to deliver lasting improvements,” said Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard.
“Right now farmers and growers are feeling totally slammed by regulation changes, uncertain international markets and desperate labour force shortages.
“It would have been heartening for us to see the Commission acknowledge these pressures and recommend non-regulatory solutions.”
The government has until the end of the year to respond to the final Climate Change Commission report, which can be read at www.climatecommission.govt.nz.
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