The Minister of Agriculture has confirmed he hasn’t bothered asking his officials the costs farmers will face as a result of the high methane target the Government is imposing, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Nathan Guy says.
“When questioned in Primary Production Select Committee Damien O’Connor scrambled to confirm he’d seen no specific advice for costs per farm, nor has he even asked for any.
“Cabinet have blindly cooked up a methane reduction target of 24-47 per cent, despite scientific evidence suggesting this is too high and without knowing the costs per average farm and the impact it will have on rural communities.
“The Minister’s lack of concern around costs on rural communities is extremely disappointing. It’s clear he meant what he said when he told farmers last year to ‘get used to it’ in relation to increasing costs.
“The Government also wants Agriculture included in the ETS. Farmers are extremely weary of any new tax collected at processor level that won’t help change on farm behaviours.
“To make matters worse Damien O’Connor’s ‘rural proofing’ policy announced a year ago is a flop. There is no formal evidence of this policy on any Cabinet papers proving it’s a bumper sticker idea with no substance.
“Farmers want a Minister to stand up for them in Cabinet and not roll over on environmental regulations and the One Billion Trees programme, which is gobbling up farmland and hollowing our rural communities. The Minister needs to take caution before imposing more costs on the sector willy-nilly.”