New Zealand farmers protest plan to tax livestock burps

Sydney, Australia, Oct 20 (EFE).- New Zealand farmers protested Thursday in several cities across the country against a plan by the government to impose taxes from 2025 on greenhouse gas emissions originating from the burps of sheep and cows.

An indeterminate number of tractors and protesters on foot took to the streets and highways of the cities of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, among others, according to images published by New Zealand media.

“All I can say is we apologize but the whole thing about it is if you’ve got a government that won’t listen you have to do things so people take notice,” Groundswell New Zealand advocacy group co-founder and one of the organizers of the protest, Bryce McKenzie, told public broadcaster Radio New Zealand.

On its website, Groundswell says that the government’s emissions tax plan will reduce sheep and beef production by 20 percent and dairy production by 6 percent without having a significant impact on reducing global emissions “as most of the reduction in New Zealand’s emissions will just be replaced by less efficient foreign farmers jumping into our share of the market.”

In a world-first, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labor government presented a plan last week to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan is part of the Oceania country’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis and, if approved, would make New Zealand farmers the first in the world to pay a levy on livestock emissions.

Almost half of the emissions of New Zealand, a country of five million inhabitants, come from agriculture, mainly methane emitted by its 26 million sheep and 10 million cows.

The Wellington government, which aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, has submitted its proposal for consultation with farmers until Nov. 18.

“We are in the middle of a very genuine (consultation) process here,” Ardern told reporters in Auckland.

“My focus is on working constructively with our food producers to get the best possible outcome for them and for New Zealand,” she added, Radio New Zealand reported. EFE


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