The Northland Age

Resilience for the North

- Kelvin Davis

Severe weather events have caused major problems with our roads, in particular the closure of the Mangamuka Gorge. We cannot sit still while our climate changes and conditions worsen. There is no Planet B.

Recently the Government made a step forward for Aotearoa by releasing our response to the He Waka Eke Noa partnershi­p proposal for pricing agricultur­al emissions.

For two years the Government has worked with the farming sector to find a way to achieve our climate obligation­s.

The sector came together to prepare a plan to give farmers control over how they reduce emissions on their own farms and how they could take advantage of new technology and be supported through this transition.

The Government has adopted most of the recommenda­tions from that plan. The proposal aims to give New Zealand farmers control over their own emissions, providing the ability to reduce costs through revenue raised from the system being recycled back to farmers, which will fund further research, tools and technology and incentives to reduce emissions. It’s disappoint­ing that some who have helped develop the plan are now criticisin­g it.

The impacts of climate change have already hit the farming sector with more regular droughts in summer and flooding during winter.

Each drought and each flood hits farmers in the back pocket. The closure of roads like the Mangamuka Gorge also hits farmers in the back pocket as produce takes longer and has to travel further to get to markets. Without action storms and droughts will become more severe and frequent and the cycle of droughts and floods will intensify.

No other country in the world has yet developed a system for pricing and reducing agricultur­al emissions, so our farmers are set to benefit from being first movers. New Zealand will be able to market themselves as the best for the world; gaining a price premium for climate friendly agricultur­al products while also helping to boost export earnings.

A recent media article fact checked “How do Groundswel­l’s climate complaints stack up?” and of the four claims investigat­ed, none of their criticisms were justified.

With agricultur­e accounting for our largest climate change emissions farming businesses need to prepare for change. The alternativ­e is not the status quo.

There needs to be ongoing dialogue between farming leaders and the Government, not half baked claims, that don’t stack up to independen­t scrutiny.

We’re open to transition assistance, to tweaks to incentives, to greater support for on-farm changes and to working with sheep and beef farms in particular.

If we do nothing the long term impact of climate change will continue to hurt us all.

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