Farmers in New Zealand are angered over the latest proposal by the government to tax the greenhouse emissions that come from farm animals.
New Zealand’s government on Tuesday proposed taxing the greenhouse gasses that farm animals make from burping and peeing as part of a plan to tackle climate change. The government said the farm levy would be a world first, and that farmers should be able to recoup the cost by charging more for climate-friendly products.
Condemning the seemingly bizarre tax, Federated Farmers, the industry’s main lobby group, said the plan would “rip the guts out of small town New Zealand” and see farms replaced with trees. Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard said farmers had been trying to work with the government for more than two years on an emissions reduction plan that wouldn’t decrease food production.
The government proposal was part of its 2050 carbon-neutral goal, which includes a pledge that it will reduce methane emissions from farm animals by 10% by 2030 and by up to 47% by 2050. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said all the money collected from the proposed farm levy would be put back into the industry to fund new technology, research, and incentive payments for farmers.