Horticulture cautious on Zero Carbon Bill

20 Jul 2018

The horticulture industry says it supports the concept of a Zero Carbon Bill with a 2050 target, provided there are viable alternative production systems and technology developed within that timeframe.

Horticulture New Zealand has made a submission to the Ministry for the Environment on its Our Climate Your Say discussion paper for the Zero Carbon Bill. The submission is supported by Katikati Fruitgrowers Association Incorporated, Tomatoes New Zealand Incorporated, Potatoes New Zealand Incorporated, Vegetables New Zealand Incorporated, New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated, New Zealand Passionfruit Growers Association Incorporated, Horticulture Canterbury, Process Vegetables NZ, Onions New Zealand Incorporated, Strawberry Growers New Zealand Incorporated, New Zealand Apples and Pears Incorporated, New Zealand Citrus Growers Incorporated, and Federated Farmers.

"We support the Bill having provisions for a Climate Change Commission, provided that Commission has the ability to advise on a revised target for emissions budgets and adaptation," Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says.

"Horticulture is concerned about the impacts of the various ‘net zero’ options on emissions prices and on GDP, jobs, incomes, and the health of New Zealanders.

"Growers in the horticulture industry are mostly small to medium sized businesses, with a few larger corporates in some sectors. Therefore, changes in costs can have a dramatic effect on the ability of these businesses to remain profitable and to continue to offer job opportunities to New Zealanders.

"We are of the view that particular attention should be paid to:

- New Zealand’s international competitiveness and the potential for carbon leakage.

- Domestic food supply, the impact of the methods of implementation on the reliable supply of fresh fruit and vegetables to domestic consumers.

- Investment in research to develop alternative technologies and fuels that growers will need to enable viable fruit and vegetable production to continue.

"Horticulture can add value to a lower emissions economy. But in order to mitigate emissions through increases in horticulture, barriers to horticultural expansion will need to be reduced, in particular trade barriers and access to water," Chapman says.

Horticulture New Zealand recommends that New Zealand should meet its domestic emissions reductions (including from new forest planting and horticultural plantings such as orchards, vines, and shelter belts) and use some emissions reductions from overseas, (international carbon units), provided the overseas carbon units have strong environmental safeguards.

"Horticulture New Zealand expects to have continued involvement as the Bill is developed, and it is likely we will make further submissions along the way," Chapman says.

You can find the Horticulture New Zealand submission here.