New Zealand's Agricultural Emissions Pricing has always been a complex and convoluted issue, prompting intense debate, and creating a labyrinth where agriculture, economics, and environmental policy intersect.
On Friday last week, the Labour Party announced further delays in the roll-out of the policy, and ACT Party Ag Spokesperson Andrew Hoggard told REX host Dominic George the New Zealand Government has failed to present any new ideas regarding agricultural emissions pricing for the past eight months.
"They're kind of just showing they really are out of ideas because in the last eight months, they haven't managed to come up with anything new on it," he said.
This has created further frustration within the agricultural sector which remains unsubsidised and is seeking government support.
The ACT Party's Ag Spokesperson pointed out the widely held assumption that agriculture contributes to nearly half of the warming impact, arguing it's actually much less.
"The whole debate is based around this assumption that, oh, because of how we calculate greenhouse gases it means agriculture is 48 or 49% of the problem.
"But no, it's a short-lived gas, very different warming profile, it's been stable or slightly decreasing since 2006. So the actual warming isn't 48 or 49%, it's a hell of a lot less."
Hoggard questioned whether consumers genuinely prefer more sustainable practices, or if their purchasing behaviour tells a different story. He observed a disconnect between what people claim to want and what their shopping habits reveal.
"There's a bit of a dichotomy there in terms of what people say they want and what they actually do want."
Moreover, the ACT Party spokesperson drew attention to the role of big companies in shaping this narrative. He argued that these corporations may be creating a facade of environmental concern for their own image, without necessarily having the backing of actual consumers.
"Very definitely and I've seen commentary from my compatriots in Europe calling out some of the big companies for making all these bold and wonderful claims.
"But the ones that have to pay for it, in the end, are the farmers and the end consumers."
Finally, Hoggard criticized the idea of leakage – the notion that if New Zealand doesn't produce it, other countries with less efficient practices will.
"Look, if we're the only ones that are going to do it, no other country is going to push it.
"As I mentioned before Europe, they're paying 50 billion in subsidies a year to their farmers.
"You seriously think they're going to reverse that and start taxing them on top of it for their emissions?"
Listen to the full chat between ACT Party Ag Spokesperson Andrew Hoggard and Dominic George above.