Fed Talk: Fert tax not the solution it appears to be

Luke Kane
Luke Kane
In the past week we have heard murmurs of a possible fert tax, writes Federated Farmers Otago president Luke Kane.

While this may seem like a quick, straightforward fix from the Government’s point of view, it certainly won’t deal with the issue it was trying to address.

The tax — and it is just that — is extremely short-sighted with no real consideration for rural communities or the environment.

It will disproportionately hit our arable and vegetable sector hardest, which doesn’t contribute methane (if that’s what this was meant to solve).

There needs to be an accurate, science-based plan that has positive outcomes for the environment while at the same time protecting our rural communities and our people.

This process is going to be a generational change and so should have a ground up generational approach.

Recently we have seen the growth of catchment groups and the highlighting of great time and money spent by rural communities. In some cases, there was a real need to establish such groups, and it has proven that when we all have the chance for input there can be good, tangible outcomes, but as we are working with the natural environment it takes time to implement and prove outcomes.

It was good to see all industry groups agreeing on this topic regardless of how much it may or may not affect them. This type of collaboration is becoming more important as we all learn to better understand each farming sector’s issues and the roles they play, while making the best use of levy funds or research.

It was great to notice when we recently presented evidence for the Otago Regional Policy Statement the level of interest and genuine questions from the panel. They had to try to understand in the very short presentation time frame we had the immense damage poorly thought-out policy could cause in the rural sector.