Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters today welcomes the Minister’s announcement of the government’s climate change policies, the culmination of months of hard work.
“New Zealand First is pleased that our coalition agreement commitment to introduce a Climate Change Bill has been met,” stated Mr Peters.
“This process began when the last National Government signed the country up to the Paris Agreement. From the beginning of this government, New Zealand First has had the agriculture sector’s interests at heart. New Zealand has an internationally unique methane profile given our sheep and dairy farming sector.
“In negotiations, New Zealand First sought to balance the interests of the agricultural sector and the need for the government to take strong action and show leadership on climate change.
“We paid careful attention to, and respected, the weight of officials’ advice around a methane target, Mr Peters added.
The 10 percent reduction target for biogenic methane has a waste component, making the effective bovine-induced biogenic methane target 26.7 percent, which lands squarely inside a wide range of officials’ advice.
“We also recognise that with this legislation our agricultural sector is facing new responsibilities around farm emissions,” Mr Peters said.
“We are committed to assisting the industry through that transition with discounted emissions costs, better tools and knowledge to help them manage emissions and other environmental factors, as well as increased investment in research and development on ways to reduce emissions.
“New Zealand First will fully consult with the agricultural sector about how it wants the free allocation to agriculture to be fed back to the sector. What proportion of the assistance New Zealand First has secured in this agreement does the sector want channelled directly to farmers to assist their mitigation efforts and what proportion of the free allocation be directed to fund sector-wide research and development into methane inhibitors, vaccines and other new technologies?
“We will listen very closely to, and work with, the agriculture sector about their preferences,” Mr Peters said.
New Zealand First ensured that:
- The Government agrees to set a net zero target for carbon by 2050 in the Climate Change Bill;
- The Climate Change Commission will not be granted statutory independence in the manner of the Reserve Bank;
- The Government will establish and legislate split gas targets for carbon dioxide and biogenic methane. These gases are being treated differently as the lifespan in the atmosphere of CO² lasts for hundreds of years, while methane degrades in around 20 years;
- The Government will set an initial methane target at a 10 percent reduction from 2017 levels from 2020 to 2030, providing certainty for the agriculture sector as it transitions towards a lower emissions future. Setting the 10 percent biogenic methane target until 2030 also recognises the research going in to the development of methane inhibitors and vaccines which may see significant technological progress by 2030;
- The 10 percent reduction target for biogenic methane includes 11 percent for waste, making the effective bovine-induced biogenic methane target 26.7 percent, which lands squarely inside a wide range of officials’ advice;
- The Climate Change Commission will review the 2050 targets against progress, including the 10 percent biogenic methane target not until 2024, providing a predictable transition period for the agricultural sector as it tackles mitigation efforts;
- The methane target from 2030-2050 will fall within the IPCC range of 24-47 percent, but the pathway set between 2020 and 2030 (i.e., the 10 percent reduction from 2017 levels) will establish a predictable direction of travel and progress against that target ;
- Unnecessary advisory groups supporting the Climate Change Commission were removed.