National stands behind New Zealand’s international commitments to reducing emissions but has cautioned against drastic action which will unfairly impact New Zealand farmers and businesses, spokesperson for Climate Change Todd Muller says.

“The Government has today established an Interim Climate Change Committee that will work on New Zealand’s efforts to meet our international climate change commitments – and right away set it the task of targeting regional New Zealand.

“New Zealand’s international commitments were made by the previous National Government because we believe New Zealand can and should play its part – but that we must do so in a sustainable way.

“We must also do it in a way that recognises the unique challenges we face – including the fact half of our emissions come from agriculture and we don’t yet have a cost effective way of mitigating them.

“But the fact the first task the Government’s committee has been assigned is how to bring agriculture into New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme shows a worrying lack of concern for our farmers and economy.

“Forcing agriculture into the ETS before we have the technology available to reduce emissions without culling stock will amount to nothing more than another unfair tax on farmers and regional New Zealand.

“The target of 100 per cent renewable electricity generation by 2035 also shows the Government does not fully understand the complexities of the challenge – or how vulnerable such a reliance could leave New Zealand’s electricity network.

“There are other issues where the committee’s efforts and considerable experience and expertise would be better focused in the meantime, for example how we might achieve a faster and broader economy-wide uptake of renewable transport.

“So far this just looks like another win for the Greens over NZ First and a raid on regional New Zealand.”

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