He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) has presented its proposal to the Government. We await the details. From comments by Federated Farmers in the media it seems the partners in HWEN have reached agreement and either the Feds, who were the holdouts, have capitulated in a big way or they have achieved big changes to the scheme. The latter seems unlikely.
Any scheme that proposes farmers pay taxes for their methane emissions is an unjust scheme because of the science of these methane emissions.
The sad thing is that farmers did not need to fight the Government on the science because the Government and the Climate Commission both freely admit that these methane emissions are not causing warming and reductions are only needed to offset CO2 emissions.
What farmers have not done well is try and win the hearts and minds of New Zealanders by promoting the science. The Government is doing farmers over on this because they can. The campaign against farmers by the likes of Greenpeace and others has been long and relentless and farmers have not fought back well.
Telling the farmers’ story and countering the misinformation about methane emissions has been difficult for organisations like ours because the media usually defaults to the Feds, or Dairy NZ or B&L for comment on these matters and they have simply not told the story.
Farmers have instead come across as possums in the headlights caught out and always on the defensive about these emissions. Even Groundswell, which has done well to be able to get media coverage, fails to tell the most important story of all and that is the science.
There have been a number of interviews of late that have involved these organisations and they have left us angry. The science of methane, the fact it does not cause additional warming and the fact that reductions are only needed to offset CO2 have not been mentioned. Now of course the media could have clipped the parts of the interviews that said that so that is why experienced communicators to the media say the one most important thing and nothing else.
Groundswell by advocating for a levy instead of HWEN to research ways to reduce methane just played into Greenpeace’s hand because they do not counter the misinformation, they reinforce it. ‘Methane is a problem and therefore we need this levy because it needs to reduce’, it is saying. The same goes for the so-called enlightened semi woke farmers and farmer organisations which support reducing methane for whatever reason, because their message reinforces the misinformation that methane is a problem.
FARM will continue to fight for the science. We have a good number of supporters but we cannot easily counter misinformation when it is reinforced by farmers themselves. Please message Federated Farmers, Dairy NZ, Beef and Lamb and Groundswell and tell them that NZ farmers have a good story, they have the science behind them and that is the story that needs to be told.
Chis Luxon in a speech said that “we need to change the mindset of New Zealanders to back farmers” This is encouraging that the National Party back farmers but once HWEN is in it will stay in. There will be no going back and it will not be undone by a future government. What is even sadder is that it is the Nats backing farmers when farmers don’t back farmers and agree to pay for emissions that are not causing global warming simply because they have not told the story of the science well enough.
On the bright side in case you missed it. Support for the campaign to halve the herd was polled and the majority of New Zealanders did not support it. That is encouraging and makes farmers agreeing to HWEN even more of a travesty. People are more supportive than farmers think.
And our Manager, Owen Jennings, went into bat for us in the NZ Herald today (click link to view). Well done Owen.