Reducing agricultural emissions

Agriculture is the backbone of New Zealand’s economy, contributing 11 per cent of GDP, 14 per cent of employment and 81 per cent of goods exports.

Our farmers are among the most competitive and carbon-efficient food producers in the world, feeding an estimated 40 million people worldwide.

However, agriculture also generates around half of this country's greenhouse gas emissions. Finding a sustainable pathway to bringing down agricultural emissions without decimating our most important economic sector is one of New Zealand’s major long-term challenges.

Calls to shrink the agricultural sector and reduce emissions are neither feasible nor sustainable. It would make New Zealanders poorer and shift production to less carbon-efficient farms overseas, likely increasing global emissions. It’s also extremely short-sighted for New Zealand to rely on converting our most productive agricultural land into forestry – and hollowing out our rural communities – in the name of reducing net emissions.

National believes the solution to agricultural emissions is through technology, not by sacrificing our largest export sector or blanketing agricultural land in pine trees.

National’s plan to reduce agricultural emissions:

1. Give farmers the tools they need to reduce emissions, such as gene-edited crops, feed, and livestock, by lifting the effective ban on GE and GM technologies.
2. Implement a fair and sustainable pricing system for on-farm agricultural emissions by 2030 that reduces emissions without sending production overseas.
3. Limit the conversion of productive farmland to forestry for carbon farming purposes to protect local communities and food production.

Read National’s reducing agricultural emissions plan here.