New Zealand farmers protest world’s first livestock ‘burp tax’ | Climate News

Farm vehicles have disrupted traffic in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and other cities to protest the emissions tax.

Riding in convoys of tractors and pickup trucks, farmers in New Zealand have gathered in cities and towns across the country to protest against the government’s plan to become the world’s first. Emission tax from farm animals.

Rows of tractors and other farm vehicles disrupted traffic in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and other cities on Thursday, with farmers protesting to demand the country’s centre-left government get rid of the so-called “burp and fart” tax.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced plans last week for world’s first tax on agricultural gas and biomethanewhich mainly comes from burps produced by New Zealand’s estimated six million cows and 26 million sheep.

Ardern has argued that the tax is necessary to slow global warming and could even benefit farmers if they can charge higher prices for climate-friendly meats. than.

However, New Zealand farmers are standing up, with thousands of farm workers taking part in Thursday’s protest, called “We Won’t Accept It”.

Bryce McKenzie, co-founder of Groundswell New Zealand, which organized the protest, said the tax threatens the viability of local farmers.

“The government’s ideological commitment to punitive and counterproductive emissions taxes on food production is an existential threat to rural communities,” says McKenzie.

While government hopes tax will reduce livestock emissions “The cuts will be replaced by less efficient foreign farmers,” McKenzie argues.

Methane is less abundant and does not last as long in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, but it is a much more powerful warming agent. Scientists believe that methane is responsible for about 30% of the increase in global temperatures, despite being only a small part of the greenhouse gas mix.

Local farmer Mark Chandler told Radio New Zealand (RNZ) that the level of compliance regarding the proposed livestock emissions tax rate is punitive.

He told RNZ: “There are so many things coming that make life impossible.

“For a small to medium farmer, you would have to do weeks, weeks of management and compliance, and it didn’t work – we weren’t in the game to do that.”

A protest test was also held in Wellington on Thursday by locals, who said the agriculture industry needed to do its part to tackle climate change.

Valerie Morse told RNZ that people are tired of subsidizing destructive and polluting agricultural methods and farmers need to be part of the solution to climate change by adopting better practices. sustainable production methods.

Environmentalists also believe that Farmers need to adapt.

Climate Justice Taranaki’s Emily Bailey said: “The agricultural and rural areas of this country have been hit hard by floods, severe storms and drought this year.

“It just got worse,” she said.

“Farmers can adapt and quickly reduce their emissions, otherwise they and others will suffer more.”


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