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He Waka Eke Noa Frequently Asked Questions

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 yourfeedback@hewakaekenoa.nz 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.

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  • Which agricultural greenhouse gases are included in the pricing system?

    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.

  • When will I know how much I need to pay for my greenhouse gas emissions?

    The Partnership will provide recommendations to Ministers in April 2022. This will include recommendations on the process for setting the price but will not provide the final cost to farmers. Government has legislated that a price on greenhouse gas emissions will start in 2025.

  • Will on-farm sequestration be recognised in the pricing system, and can I use it to offset my emissions?

    We are looking at 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 consultation document can be found on the ‘Your say’ page.

  • Will additional sources of sequestration be recognised in the future? 

    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 on the ‘Your say’ page.

  • Is He Waka Eke Noa considering wetlands and their regeneration or preservation as carbon sinks?

    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.

  • Will He Waka Eke Noa look at ways to recognise carbon sequestration from wool?

    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.

  • Will He Waka Eke Noa look at carbon sequestration in vegetables or maize?

    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.

  • Will He Waka Eke Noa look at carbon sequestration in tussock grasslands?

    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.

  • Will He Waka Eke Noa look at carbon sequestration from grass?

    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. Refer to FAQ on carbon sequestration in soil for more on this.

  • Will He Waka Eke Noa look at carbon sequestration in soil?

    Yes, but it is unlikely to be recognised within the first stages of implementation. We are investigating whether soil carbon sequestration or prevention of soil carbon loss can be recognised, given the current state of knowledge in this area.
    Globally there is significant interest in increasing soil carbon levels to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Monitoring and measuring changes in soil carbon stocks is challenging. New Zealand-specific science is limited, and the costs of measuring farm level soil carbon stock changes are estimated to be very high.
    There is also the challenge that losses in soil carbon can occur through farming activities, climate conditions, and adverse events such as droughts, which would need to be accounted for.
    While soil carbon is an area of high interest from many farmers, there is a lot we do not know yet. For more detail, the report on soil carbon can be found on the ‘Your say’ page.

  • When do I need to estimate and report greenhouse gas emissions from my farm?

    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 have assessed multiple tools that farmers can use to estimate and report their greenhouse gas emissions. Find out more here Tools and calculators | He Waka Eke Noa

    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.

    Work is underway to determine how greenhouse gas emissions will be calculated in the future pricing system. Reporting greenhouse gas emissions for the pricing system will start in 2024.

  • When do I need to have greenhouse gases in my farm plan?  

    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.

  • What is mātauranga Māori?

    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

  • Where does the name He Waka Eke Noa come from?

    ‘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.

  • Who is representing farmers in the Partnership?

    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.

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