28 Oct 2008

Greens want to change baseline year for farm emissions to 1990

6:20 pm on 28 October 2008

The Green Party has signaled a significant change to the Emissions Trading Act, changing the baseline year for measuring agricultural emissions from 2005 to 1990, as part of its rural policy.

Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says the current baseline year of 2005, is not fair to those in the sheep and beef sector.

She says the policy is focused around helping New Zealand farmers to become more sustainable with greater environmental stewardship, which would aid their ability to access premium markets that demand sustainable production.

The party has also included a support package for people who want to convert to organic farming and a proposed strategy to reduce pesticide use, as well as phasing out some of the more toxic pesticides.

It is calling for the New Zealand farming sector to take note of a new United Nations report which shows that organic production in Africa can increase yields while protecting soils and the environment.

The Greens would aim for 15% of production certified organic or in conversion by 2015.

Widen dairy consents

Ms Fitzsimons says the Greens also want to introduce a requirement under the Resource Management Act which would apply to dairy farmers in areas already being used heavily for dairying.

She says they would need resource consents for conversion and intensification of land use, to protect water quality.

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

Federated Farmers vice president Frank Brenmuhl says none of the political parties have done enough analysis about the possible implications of the Emissions Trading Act, which he says would reduce world food production.

He says the Greens - along with all the other political parties - have not come to grips with the problems that the Act creates.