ACT MP optimistic potential tax for farmers has been 'flushed out'

ACT MP optimistic potential tax for farmers has been 'flushed out'

On Thursday the Government confirmed its intention to have an emissions pricing plan for agriculture before Parliament wraps up.

ACT Minister Damien O'Connor believes time is running out to finalise a system to price these agricultural emissions, while Climate Change Minister James Shaw said it was "very unlikely" this deadline would be met.

ACT Party Agriculture Spokesperson Mark Cameron told REX host Dominic George the rural sector still hasn't got any answers from the Government but is optimistic they have 'flushed out' any potential for a new tax on farmers.

"If you're a farmer sitting in rural New Zealand trying to ascertain what your future looks like and where your margins are, it's all sort of left to consternation and wonder at the moment," Cameron said.

He was particularly disappointed with the lack of clarity from the Government regarding any new legislation that will affect rural New Zealand.

"When we question the Minister in the house on the potentiality for having a tax on fertiliser, he sort of flip-flopped between his answers, committed to the fact that he was engaged in the discussion but didn't necessarily say it was something the Government was going to do."

Given the cost of living crisis Aotearoa is currently facing, Cameron pointed out the flow-on effect a fertiliser tax or other additional expense for those working in the rural sector would have on the rest of the country.

"Food inflation or prices on food have gone up over 12%, any tax on fertiliser would only add to the woes of consumers."

While he admits the tax was never specifically ruled out, Cameron told George he isn't convinced it was ever really on the table.

"The counterfactual is that the Minister will always argue we don't have the necessary funding for the technologies that will help ameliorate or mitigate the emissions on farms.

"Things like Bovaer have sat on the desk of the EPA for over two years to be sanctioned so, we've got to have an honest conversation about cause and effect and outcomes for rural New Zealanders and I don't think we are having it."