Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill

July 22, 2019 11:28 pm

Introduction
Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission on
the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill.
RWNZ supports New Zealand’s continued efforts to address the severity of climate change
and taking action as a leader in environmental sustainability. We believe it is in the best
interest of rural communities, New Zealand, and the world to ensure the environment
remains healthy and secure. This Bill is hugely pivotal for New Zealand agriculture, and we
believe it is imperative to receive as much feedback possible from the members of
agricultural sectors. We have surveyed our Members asking their opinions about the Bill and
how it will affect their lives in rural communities.

General Comments
The Zero Carbon Bill means serious change for the farming industry and beyond if enacted
as currently presented. Members of rural communities are worried about their livelihoods
and change this Bill will cause. They are hesitant to support a legislation they do not know
clear facts about or how these proposed changes will be enforced in real time. They need
proof that these reforms will work to make a difference in the environment and are worth
striving for. No one is arguing whether or not change in how we treat the environment is
required, but how direction from the government regarding such change can be improved. It
is beneficial to say we want to reduce our carbon footprint, but not without a clear path to get
there that still benefits the people of New Zealand and our economy. Reliable scientific
research and direction is required to fully understand the Bill and what it means for rural
communities.

Specific Comments
1. Emissions are not just an agricultural issue, but a concern for the whole country and
world. Other industries release high amounts of emissions but are not included in the
Bill, including travel. It is time to prioritise environmental protection and acknowledge
degradation caused by humanity. Everyone contributes to climate change, no matter
how small.
2. Farmers and foresters want to make environmental improvements and help reduce
greenhouse gases. They understand the importance of having healthy land and
environment since their livelihoods depend on it. A vast majority of farmers have
proved time and time again that they are “eco champions” and are open to new
practices that are well researched and clear. There are also members of the
agricultural industry not doing their part, and action is required to change their
mindset regarding the wellbeing of the planet.
3. Many Members are sceptical that the methane targets are reachable without severely
damaging the agriculture sector and therefore rural communities. They are eager to
help, but want confirmation that their livelihoods aren’t in jeopardy. They are open to
practical steps to reduce carbon emissions that will not damage their source of
income.
4. Changing farming and forestry practices to lower emissions is possible without
hurting the agriculture industry, but not without aid from the government. Research
assistance and technological developments are required for any environmental
change to occur.

Feedback
1. RWNZ would like to see a holistic plan from the government on how we, New
Zealand as a whole, are supposed to reach these targets. Unclear guidance and
strategy will lead to negative results and a waste of time and money for all parties.
The lack of a plan is causing concern and frustration within rural communities, and to
an extent putting a wedge between forestry and the meat and dairy industries.
Honest communication from the government about how they plan to reach these
hefty emission goals is required to make this proposed Bill a success.
2. RWNZ believes more education is required about the Bill and its implications for the
public, directly from the government and experts. Engagement with and to some
extent direction from the government with farmers and foresters about how we
change practices is imperative to make this plan impactful. Straightforward
information regarding the Bill’s objectives will provide clarity to concerned farmers
and rural families.
3. RWNZ encourages media to educate the urban population on what agricultural
sectors are accomplishing to help combat climate change. These stories of
leadership within the rural area will help mend the rural and urban disconnect and
motivate everyone to do their part for the environment. Everyone has room to change
their lifestyles and industry practices for the wellbeing of the environment, and it is
time we started working together to reach that goal.
4. RWNZ calls for an increase in assistance from the government for farmers and
foresters. Technological developments are happening, but need to be made known
and available to farmers in order to make their business more efficient and
sustainable for all. Constant research and openness to other sources of
advancements is requested to keep farmers updated on the best ways to reduce
their emissions and stay profitable.
5. RWNZ would like to see an increase in sustainable farming practices be researched
and enacted throughout the country. Carbon sequestration has proved to be a helpful
way to reduce emissions with a limit on urea output and imports. There are also other
fertiliser systems that have proved great benefits for pastures and animal health.
Exploring long term options to decrease emissions and still allow farms to be
productive remains RWNZ focus.
6. RWNZ stresses the need for increased accountability of the government to stick to
carbon budgets promised in the Bill.
About Rural Women New Zealand
1. Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) is a not-for-profit, member-based organisation
that reaches into all rural communities and has an authoritative voice on rural
environment, health, education, technology, business and social issues.
2. RWNZ strives to ensure that all rural residents, workers and families have equitable
access to services, inequalities are addressed by Government, and the wellbeing of
rural communities is considered from the beginning of all policy and legislative
development.
3. RWNZ is affiliated to the Associated Country Women of the World and as such
upholds all United Nations, ILO and WHO conventions and outcome statements as
they relate to women and rural women in particular.
4. RWNZ would like to draw particular attention to the United Nations Sustainable
Development Goal 13, Climate Action, which takes urgent action to combat climate
change and its devastating impacts.

We are eager to provide an oral submission directly to the Select Committee and look
forward to hearing of a suitable time.

Yours sincerely,
Angela McLeod
Acting Chief Executive

Rural Women New Zealand
PO Box 12-021, Wellington 6144
P 04 473 5524
E angela.mcleod@ruralwomennz.nz

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