OPINION: One of the most recognised lines from the classic TV show Hill Street Blues was the send out by Sgt Stan Jablonski - "Let's do it to them, before they do it to us".
In a Zoom session in late February, principal analyst Chris Holland and project lead Sally Garden told attendees that there were two parts to the advice.
The first is an assessment of farmer readiness for farm-level emissions pricing systems, named the Agriculture Progress Assessment – one of the two proposals being put to farmers by the He Waka Eke Noa climate action partnership.
Garden says the first part of this assessment is to look at how the primary sector is meeting its commitments under the Zero Carbon Act.
“We have to make an assessment of whether those are on track to be met,” she says.
The commitments include all farms having a documented annual total of greenhouse gas emissions by December 2022.
“Those milestones are sort of the building blocks for preparing farmers for emissions pricing,” she says. “We’ll be assessing whether we think that those have been met, but also whether there’s evidence that the commitments… are on track to be met.”
Another part is assessing progress towards farmers being ready to start complying with their reporting obligations.
“That’s really looking at making an assessment of the progress that the He Waka Eke Noa sector partnership has made in developing an alternative system for pricing agricultural emissions outside the emissions trading scheme.”
The other part of the advice the Commission will provide is the Agricultural Assistance Project, which Holland says will see it advise government as to what types of assistance will be required by farmers.
“Essentially… whether farmers should be receiving some kind of rebate on the emissions costs that they pay,” says Holland.
He says that, currently, assistance has only been defined as financial assistance to farmers.
“The key questions which ministers have asked us to answer are really around whether assistance will be required overall and then who might need assistance,” he says.
The Commission is due to provide its advice regarding the Agriculture Progress Assessment to the Government on June 30. The financial assistance advice is due by 30 April 2022.
The Government will make its decisions regarding farm emissions pricing by 30 December 2022.