National | Climate Change

Māori Farmers welcome lower govt methane targets

Māori farmers are welcoming the push by the government to lessen methane emission targets and a zero emissions target by 2050.

This follows an address by Climate Change Minister James Shaw at the Northland Climate Change Conference in Whāngarei.

Farmer Kiri Edwards of Ngāti Manu says, “What we really need to think about is not just about 'punishing the cow' as such but how we farm.  And the models in this country, the conventional models of intensification and high inputs, low outputs really need to be addressed.”

The minister is proposing two new methane targets under his Zero Carbon Bill.

“Methane is not the problem,” says farmer Max Purnell of Ngāti Maru.

“What I've been trying to farm and do and many, many people do in the north [is] we try to farm in a way that we leave land better for our grandchildren, for kaitiakitanga.”

A Victoria University paper recently proposed treating methane differently from carbon dioxide, because methane disappears much quicker.

“We've been saying for some time that obviously the short-lived gases like methane do behave differently from long-life gases like carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide,” says Shaw.

“And so, therefore, your policy response has to take account of those differences.”

“Industry and agriculture, forestry and fisheries have had a good run of it up till now,” said Catherine Murupaenga-Ikenn of He Korowai Trust, “And it's time that we have to seriously think about how are those industries going to give back to society and to the environment.”

14 consultation hui on the Zero Carbon Bill will be held across the country over the next six weeks, with the first in Whāngarei tonight.