Farmers called on to match $45m research funding

United Future leader Peter Dunne is calling on New Zealand's farming sector to match the Government's $45 million contribution to the Global Research Alliance.

The money will add to an international fund for researching greenhouse gases in the agricultural sector.

The New Zealand-led initiative will bring together public and private researchers from some of the world's largest economies.

Associate Climate Change Issues Minister Tim Groser said the commitment was a significant step in boosting the profile of agriculture greenhouse gas research internationally.

"Fourteen percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture, but for New Zealand and parts of the developing world, that figure is much higher.

There is an urgent need to develop technologies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration in agriculture while enhancing food security," Mr Groser said.

Mr Dunne said the initiative would benefit scientists here, but the $150m raised so far wouldn't go far in addressing the huge challenge of mitigating methane emissions from ruminant animals.

"As the New Zealand taxpayer is already committed to spending $45 million on the project, it is only fair that the agricultural sector at least matches that commitment," he said.

Labour's climate change spokesman Charles Chauvel said the global nature of the research fund inevitably meant New Zealand wouldn't own the rights to any research created as a result of the fund.

He criticised the Government for scrapping the $700m Fast forward Fund announced by Labour last year for research, development and innovation, saying it was a huge lost opportunity to undertake agricultural research and retain intellectual property.

Green Party climate change spokeswoman Jeanette Fitzsimons said she was pleased with the announcement that New Zealand would lead the Global Research Alliance.

She said it was more important that any intellectual property resulting from research was used for common good rather than profit.


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