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Thursday, 14 October 2021 12:25

Strong R&D investment needed to back Govt emissions plan

Written by  Staff Reporters
DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle. DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle.

DairyNZ says it broadly supports the approach outlined in the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan discussion document, but will push hard for more R&D investment.

The document released yesterday, Te hau mārohi ki anamata – Transitioning to a low-emissions and climate-resilient future, acknowledges Kiwi dairy farmers have the world’s lowest carbon footprint. It reinforces agriculture needs R&D and extension investment to be even more sustainable and meet Government targets.

The approach aligns with the dairy sector’s commitment to do more, to stay ahead of the competition and reduce environmental impact, while supporting farmers to run successful business.

“The approach endorses He Waka Eke Noa – the primary sector, Government and Māori partnership – as a key pathway for farmers and growers to play our part in reducing emissions alongside all kiwis,” says DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle.

“It’s positive to see the Government recognising the importance of He Waka Eke Noa. The partnership is achieving milestones to measure, manage and reduce emissions.

“But we also need adaptable regulations so farmers can start using new technologies as they become available. We’re lagging behind other countries in the tools to fight climate change right now, because the flexibility is not there.”

Mackle says DairyNZ is calling on the Government to start reporting on the warming effect on the different gases, as well as emissions.

“This aligns with international climate change international climate change science and would improve decision-making by being grounded in evidence.

“Addressing climate change requires an economy-wide shift. The document sets pathways for all sectors and all greenhouse gases such as long-lived [CO2] and short-lived [methane].”

Under the Government’s Fit for a Better World Strategy, DairyNZ is working alongside Government, industry Māori and the science sector to develop a shared R&D plan. This will accelerate new mitigations to reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions for farmers.

“Our work with the Fit for a Better World Strategy will provide guidance on where to invest additional funding to get emission reduction technologies in the hands of our farmers,” says Mackle.

The document also recognises reducing emissions on-farm is about supporting farmers through change, by increasing extension services and farm planning investment.

“We want to understand the Government’s extension proposals so we can input into how they will best meet farmers’ needs.”

Since 2019, DairyNZ’s nationwide Step Change programme has supported farmers to reduce emissions and improve water quality, while running profitable businesses. Successful farming businesses contribute to the national and regional economies, and local communities.

“We’ll continue working with farmers, sector partners and Government as the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan progresses, to ensure the best outcomes for dairy farmers and New Zealand,” says Mackle.

“We encourage dairy farmers to have a say on the discussion document.”

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