New Zealand Proposes 'Farm Animal Tax'

On Tuesday, New Zealand's government proposed taxing greenhouse gases that farm animals make from bodily functions, including belching, in what would be a world first in tackling climate change.

New Zealand Proposes 'Farm Animal Tax'
Image credit: Lomig / Unsplash

Facts

  • On Tuesday, New Zealand's government proposed taxing greenhouse gases that farm animals make from bodily functions, including belching, in what would be a world first in tackling climate change.
  • The government's proposed plan on agricultural emissions pricing is set to be introduced in 2025. New Zealand has approximately 10M cattle and 26M sheep, with agriculture producing nearly half of the country's total greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The proposed scheme includes a farm levy, both for methane released by cows, and for nitrous oxide produced by livestock urine. New Zealand's PM, Jacinda Ardern, stated that "cutting emissions will help New Zealand farmers to not only be the best in the world but the best for the world."
  • However, agricultural lobby groups criticized the plan, saying it would lead to large-scale farm sales and impact food production. Agriculture is vital to New Zealand's economy, with dairy products, including those used in infant formula production, being the country's most vital exports.
  • New Zealand’s government has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make New Zealand carbon neutral by 2050. Part of the plan includes reducing methane emissions from livestock by 10% by 2030 and up to 47% by 2050.

Sources: Al Jazeera, Reuters, Guardian, NBC NY, and CBC.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Transcontinental Times. The decision is a revolutionary move. Something has to be done to reduce harmful emissions in New Zealand, as methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas. As the global trendsetter, this decision could potentially give the country a competitive edge globally while also meeting greenhouse targets.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by FedFarm. The government's greenhouse gas reduction plan will rip the guts out of small-town New Zealand. Despite farmers' best efforts, this will inevitably lead to closures that will reduce small-town businesses supported by agriculture in a manner that will only be detrimental to the country. This is not a good move for the agricultural sector or the working class.

Predictions