25 Oct 2008

Agricultural emissions targetted in Greens' policy

11:54 am on 25 October 2008

The Green Party's rural policy aims to make things easier for sheep and beef farmers under the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said under the party's policy the base year for calculating agricultural emissions would be 1990.

She said the current baseline year of 2005 is not fair to those in the sheep and beef sector.

"Sheep farmers, who haven't increased their emissions since 1990, are still going to have to pay, and dairy farmers who've increased massively since 1990 are being protected.

"The sheep farmers are paying for some of the emissions of the dairy industry."

The Green Party also wants a requirement introduced under the Resource Management Act, which would apply to those dairy farmers in areas already being used heavily for dairying.

Ms Fitzsimons said farmers in those areas would need resource consents for conversion and intensification of land use, to protect water quality.

As well as including a package of support for those who want to convert to organic farming, the Greens have also included a proposed strategy to reduce pesticide use and phase out some of the more toxic pesticides.

The Green Party is also proposing to restrict the sale of land to New Zealand citizens and residents living in this country for at least half of the year.

It wants to mandate a precautionary approach aimed at the lowest practical risk when managing new organisms into New Zealand, and levy vessels, passengers and freight to help fund improved biosecurity protection.

Ms Fitzsimons says the party's rural policy, released on Friday 24 October, aims to help farmers become more sustainable, so they are better able to access premium markets that demand sustainable production.