The Government has not ruled out a fertiliser tax as an interim funding measure while the agriculture sector continues to work out how best to price its greenhouse gas emissions. In December, the Government responded to outcry from farmers at an earlier proposal to price agricultural emissions and said final decisions would be made and legislation introduced by the middle of this year. That policy was drawn up on the back of the He Waka Eke Noa sector-led agricultural emissions pricing proposal. Ag Minister Damien O’Connor says it is still the Government’s intention to have an emissions pricing plan ready before Parliament wraps in late August. But he says they are also considering other interim options to raise funds for research and development. He confirmed he has had discussions with the sector about a fertiliser levy, which farmers don’t want. A levy would have applied per tonne of fertiliser, of which farmers use over 400,000 tonnes of a year. Dairy NZ chair Jim van der Poel accepts the minister was testing the waters, but says the idea was roundly rejected by the sector when it was discussed with them. The Minister has dampened down but not ruled out a fertiliser tax in the future. Climate Change Minister James Shaw says it is “very unlikely” legislation around pricing emissions would be in place before the election so they are looking at other interim options.
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