We collect questions from the Farmer Reference Groups and conversations that our partners have with their members. You can talk to your industry representative, or can email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add your questions to the mix for our teams to answer.
As we are building the five year programme, we don’t have all the answers yet, but will do what we can to keep you updated.
The Section 215 Report outlines several changes to the proposed agricultural emissions pricing system from the proposals released by the Government for consultation in October 2022. Read the report here.
The report says farmers and growers will face relatively low prices for methane and nitrous oxide emissions initially and will have access to incentive payments and sequestration payments. Prices will be set based on a range of factors including progress on emission targets, the impacts on farmers and growers, rural communities, households and Māori agribusiness, and emissions leakage
He Waka Eke Noa industry partners who jointly submitted on emissions pricing say the report is moving in the right direction, while noting there was still work to do on the details. Read partners’ media release here.
The Section 215 report was a progress report required under the Climate Change Response Act 2002 (CCRA).
The next step is for Cabinet to make final policy decisions on the agricultural emissions pricing system in early-mid 2023. Ministers indicated in a media release the Government aims to introduce legislation by the middle of the year. Read Ministers’ media release here.
More information will be available after Cabinet decisions are made, and until then partners are continuing to work with Government to address issues raised by farmers and growers.
The Government’s Section 215 report (December 2022) states that the Government is proposing a relatively low starting price for both methane and nitrous oxide, along with incentive payments and sequestration payments.
Previous Government modelling, released as part of consultation in October 2022, modelled scenarios from a ‘low’ of 8 cents per kg of methane by 2030 to a ‘high’ of 14 cents by 2030.
Those scenarios are significantly lower than the prices originally modelled by the partnership (11 cents in 2025 and 35 cents in 2030). Modelling indicated those higher prices would have had a significant impact on farmer profitability.
However because the Section 215 report did not specify a price, there has been no modelling related to that announcement.
There is more work to be done before the starting price is set and partners are continuing to work with the Government in advance of final policy decisions.
Industry partners submitted on price setting in November 2022. Read the submission here.
New Zealand’s emissions budgets and targets must be reviewed every five years, starting in 2024, as set out in the Climate Change Response Act. The Government’s Section 215 report (December 2022) says the review is expected to look at all the relevant science, including latest research on metrics including GWP*.
Until that review is complete, and the Government makes decisions on it, it is not possible to know whether the current methane reduction targets will change.
Nevertheless, the system He Waka Eke Noa recommended for pricing emissions has been designed to be able to adapt to changing targets and prices. A skills-based Oversight Board would provide advice on levy rates, setting the strategy for investment of levy revenue, including rates of reward for sequestration and incentives for uptake of mitigation technologies. If methane were reducing in line with the target, or exceeding the target, then the price would adjust.
The S215 report proposes the Climate Change Commission would advise Cabinet on levy rates after consultation with the Oversight Board (that has representation from the agriculture sector and Māori). Māori, the agriculture sector and the public at large would then also be consulted.
Industry and Māori partners are continuing to advocate strongly for recognition of all on farm sequestration that is scientifically credible and verifiable, including riparian strips, shelter belts and pre1990 native vegetation.
We are working with Government on a sequestration strategy that will provide clarity for farmers about what that means in practice.
The Government has said sequestration needs to be recognised in a way that is fair, cost-effective, and scientifically robust.
He Waka Eke Noa has made it clear all along (both the farmer consultation in early 2022 and the recommendations in May 2022) that, in order to have integrity as a pricing system and get Government support for wider recognition of sequestration than is currently recognised under the ETS, eligible sequestration had to be consistent with the principle of additionality (that is, additional carbon is removed from the atmosphere due to specific interventions and would not have otherwise occurred).
The He Waka Eke Noa consultation material and recommendations were clear how that principle was applied and what sequestration was eligible as a result. The Government’s pricing consultation document clearly sets out their expectations on additionality in Appendix 5 of the Section 215 report (December 2022). https://environment.govt.nz/assets/publications/Pricing-agricultural-emissions-consultation-document.pdf
The Partnership recognises how important integrated on-farm vegetation is to farmers and continues to advocate to recognise as much on-farm sequestration as possible, while ensuring the system is scientifically robust, not overly complicated, nor administratively burdensome (as set out in the May 2022 recommendations).
Biogenic methane (CH4) – generated by ruminants as a by-product of digestion (less than 5% comes from dung and effluent systems).
Nitrous oxide (N2O) – released into the atmosphere from dung and urine patches, and nitrogen (N) fertilisers.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) – urea nitrogen (N) fertilisers contribute to farm CO2 emissions.
Energy use is the other driver of farm CO2 emissions. As it is already accounted for under the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) it is not included in the He Waka Eke Noa pricing system.
The sector and Māori agribusiness partners provided recommendations to Ministers in June 2022. This included recommendations on the process for setting the price but not the final cost to farmers. Government will decide on the pricing system in December 2022. Government has already legislated that a price will start in 2025.
The partners have recommended ways to recognise and reward on-farm sequestration in the system including woody vegetation that does not currently qualify under the NZ ETS. For more detail, the recommendations report can be found on here.
More accurate assessment of sequestration rates and additional sources of sequestration (e.g. soil carbon, wetlands, and tussock) may be recognised in the system in the future.
For example, soil scientists have concluded that it should be possible to include changes in soil carbon in a pricing system in the future if adequate investment is made into research and development, but current scientific knowledge is not sufficient. For more detail, the report on soil carbon can be found here.
Not yet. Wetlands can be a source of emissions as well as storage areas for emissions. The complex biological dynamics of wetlands mean that there is not always a straightforward way of knowing whether an existing, or proposed wetland, will remove significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere.
Further work is occurring in this space and wetlands could be included in the future once this information is available.
While wool is known to hold carbon, the amount held in wool fibre is a relatively small amount. This is why carbon stored in wool is not included in our national emissions reporting.
Wool is only considered a temporary store for carbon since it is often used in products with a short life relative to the long-term consequences of carbon emissions. While some wool products, such as carpet, have a life that can be decades long, it is difficult to track both its storage and breakdown.
These challenges mean that the programme has decided to not recognise the carbon stored in wool at this time. If future information or the context changes, this could be picked up again.
Vegetables and maize use carbon the same way as grass; in that while carbon is sequestered during the year, it is released again soon after harvest, so there is no year to year increase in the amount of carbon present in annual crops.
Reduced grazing of tussock grasslands can result in the accumulation of carbon in the tussocks. However, there is limited information available on this. Carbon sequestration in tussock grasslands will be further investigated and could be included at a later date if evidence supports this.
No. He Waka Eke Noa is currently focusing on investigating sequestration from on-farm vegetation but grass is not part of it. While grass takes up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it grows, it doesn’t accumulate carbon like trees. Carbon in grass is released when harvested or eaten, so from year to year there is little or no increase in pasture carbon. We recognise that there can be carbon stored from grass growth in soils, which at the moment is a challenge to measure and continually improve soil carbon storage rates within a New Zealand context. For more detail, the report on soil carbon can be found here
If your farm is over 80ha, or a dairy farm with a milk supply number, or a cattle feedlot as defined in the freshwater policy then you will need to estimate and report greenhouse gas emissions from your farm by 31 December 2022.
The Partnership has assessed multiple tools that farmers can use to estimate and report their greenhouse gas emissions. Find out more here.
If you are a dairy farmer, most milk supplier companies are providing you with a report showing your greenhouse gas information. Here is a link to the DairyNZ StepChange project – www.dairynz.co.nz/environment/step-change/know-your-numbers/.
If you are a sheep, beef or deer farmer, Beef + Lamb New Zealand has launched a free greenhouse gas calculator that will allow farmers to calculate their greenhouse gas emissions and their on-farm sequestration from trees.
The partners have recommended the process for how greenhouse gas emissions will be calculated in the future pricing system. Reporting greenhouse gas emissions for the pricing system will start in 2024.
You will need to have a written plan in place to estimate and manage your farm greenhouse gas emissions by 1 January 2025. Your industry or sector organisations and representatives will have information on their delivery programme and how they will be supporting you through the process. There is also practical information on AgMatters.
In this context mātauranga means the knowledge, knowledge system, relationships and the interdependencies of the elements concerned. An example is the mātauranga or knowledge that requires Whenua Māori to be treated differently to General Title land to reflect how government legislation determines ‘ownership’ and therefore complex decision making processes
‘He Waka Eke Noa’ is a common Māori whakataukī, or proverb which means ‘we are all in this together’. While this whakataukī is widely used, it is appropriate for the Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership because its role is to bring together the groups and people who have a part to play in ensuring sustainable practices in food and fibre production into the future.
Industry partners are drawing on the expertise of farmers and growers to develop this framework. This includes their already established farmer reference groups, and a He Waka Eke Noa specific farmer reference group with representatives from across the sector.