John Key and the Fart Tax

Written By: - Date published: 3:16 pm, November 17th, 2014 - 35 comments
Categories: climate change, farming, global warming, john key, national, science - Tags: , , ,

In the last few days America and China announced a significant deal on reducing carbon emissions. The G20 nations also made progress, forcing the denier Abbot government to back down in the process. The tide of history is turning (too little, too late) – and the best that our own PM can do is whine about it:

John Key defends dairy industry’s climate change record

Global warming has become a hot topic at the meeting, which follows closely from a major new climate agreement between China and the United States, announced at Apec last week.

In an interview on TVNZ’s Q+A programme this morning, Mr Key said New Zealand could not set the agenda for global climate change talks. And he dismissed claims the dairy industry was not playing its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. …

“If the behaviour you’re trying to change is something you have no answer for and the farmer can’t control – the methane and nitrate emissions from the animal – then aren’t you just really putting a tax on them for the sake of it?” Mr Key said this morning.

fart-tax-mad-cowEmissions that the farmer can’t control? Has Key ever heard of science? Progress can be made on agricultural emissions. All it takes is research and application. Labour tried to fund such research by way of a modest tax once, and the Nats successfully turned it in to a laughing stock.

If the Nats had just an ounce of foresight and responsibility, they would not have fought this research. Then Key would have had some options. He would have been able to set out a timetable for NZ reducing its agricultural emissions. But no, instead the best that he can do now is whinge about how hard it is, and paint our country as a global idiot.

Oh – on an entirely unrelated matter: We’re Tired of Telling You These Things, but Last Month Was the Hottest October on Record.

October2014

35 comments on “John Key and the Fart Tax”

  1. Areobubble 1

    Keys argued Nz should wait for the world to move.
    US and China agree on targets.
    Key is vacant.

    • b waghorn 1.1

      He doe’s have a point though why penalize our productive sector when
      A – there are scientists working on it
      B- our emissions are a drop in the bucket
      C- there are many piontless activities humans are up that cause pollution where as we need food.

      • Tracey 1.1.1

        explain carbon tax on forestry …

      • Molly 1.1.2

        But he is not doing anything along the lines of addressing a, b or c either.

      • b waghorn 1.1.3

        I personally think ets and carbon taxes will solve nothing significant change will only happen when government s pass laws that force reductions

      • Tiro 1.1.4

        And here something if you yourself want to participate in making a difference for the environment and the next generation:
        Make Monday meat free day -http://www.raw.info/the-problem
        from the book – Farmageddon – the true cost of cheap meat

        • b waghorn 1.1.4.1

          I’m a farmer (worker not owner) but I probably have 3 days a week meat free as I’m finding it helps the health

      • Areobubble 1.1.5

        A Green innovation is not an explation for doing nothing, its a necessity we need to stimulate more. National continues to undermine Green entrepeurers.

        B Our emissions are not a drop in the bucket, per head our reading carbon pollution is amongst the worst globally. We just got lucky with hydro.

        C Carbon credits are all about incentives, if you don’t believe in Green then you’ll liable to not have the IQ, to understand how Coal is bad and food good, how the products of Coal are bad, and the products of our seed industry good. Its hard to debate with our anti-Green Luddite govt, nat govt and farm lobby. Had they listen to Greens thirty years ago we’d be a high wage economy today having a debate about how to spend taxation rather than save it. Having a debate about other things than leaky homes and poor supply of housing demanded by citizens.

        Its egregious how normalized the right have turned us all into a debating barn from the fifteens. The world has moved on, neo-liberals smears are public civic pollution, these nits are a gross underming of our nations future profitability.

        Green entrepreneur s are turning Green ideals into cold hard profits globally.
        And where is Hooten? Barely getting his head around how when we buy a car or food then carbon credits the traded, on farmers and miners alike.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 1.2

      Remember China is not agreeing to any ‘reductions’

      They are saying that they will peak around 2030 but do not mention reduction after that.
      Allready they are more than 25% higher (8.5Bt) than total US at 5.5Bt ot carbon

  2. Tracey 2

    and yet he seems fine with carbon tax on trees… bad trees

  3. mickysavage 3

    “If the behaviour you’re trying to change is something you have no answer for and the farmer can’t control – the methane and nitrate emissions from the animal – then aren’t you just really putting a tax on them for the sake of it?”

    In other words lets do nothing …

    It is such a dishonest argument. I wish he would just come out and say that National does not want to do anything about climate change instead of pretending and trying to have it both ways.

  4. srylands 4

    You have no evidence to support your claim that the proposed research levy would have made a difference to mitigation options in New Zealand (or if you do have such evidence you have not cited it – are you sugegsting that there has been no public funding of GHG emissions reduction resarch in the ag sector?)

    There is considerable research in progress both here, e.g., http://www.pggrc.co.nz/ and internationally.

    Reducing New Zealand emissions remains expensive, RELATIVE to other countries. That is all that matetrs. It is more sensible for New Zealand to pay for cheap emission reductions in other countries. That is why international emissions trading featured so prominently in the Kyoto Protocol. I hope that New Zealand negotiators are pushing hard for such mechanisms in any future international agreement.

    • mickysavage 4.1

      You have no evidence to support your claim that the proposed research levy would have made a difference to mitigation options in New Zealand

      Tell that to Key. He is the one who said that Science would make a difference by 2050 and rubbished the current predications. If science is not going to do it then nothing is going to.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.2

      Reducing New Zealand emissions remains expensive,

      Actually, it’s relatively cheap – all we have to do is get rid of the cows.

  5. Neil 5

    The easiest way for NZ to reduce the emissions produced here, would for Key to put a cork in his gob.

  6. A voter 6

    Its not that hard John all you got to do is get you and all your rich mates to be prepared to stay in NZ come hell or high water and take a pay pollution cut in your 1% rich club payouts and get really conservative about all the wasteful spending like ,the highways of insignificance ,funding Rio Tinto building unnecessary offices and convention centres with tax payer money leave Invermay alone open up the full capacity of the INTERNET so we can trade faster without travelling out of the country and stay out of OTHER PEOPLES WARS
    That would do for starters oh and actually pay people to get rid of the Possums and make sure the BILGE from ships visiting NZ IS treated as you would with sewerage being dumped in our harbours
    And outlaw V8 cars on the road along with all the BS advertising and false values and then see who really wants to save NZ
    And for the sake of our health save our fishing Industry and our natural fertile land so we can grow decent VEGGIES and go to church once in a while
    FRIGGIN WAKE UP NZ your being conned

    5

  7. felix 7

    “If the behaviour you’re trying to change is something you have no answer for and the farmer can’t control – the methane and nitrate emissions from the animal – …”

    Sorry, what?

    Since when have farmers not been in control of the amount of animals they raise?

    Key isn’t that dumb. Are his supporters?

  8. Matthew Hooton 8

    Are you seriously saying the government is not funding and supporting research into reducing methane emissions? It launched the biggest research project in history on that very topic at Copenhagen!

    • Macro 8.1

      $25m! You have to be f88king joking! Peanuts! The cost of the emissions NZ produces alone will be way more than that. And the downstream cost are already in the billions – the result of years of drought and extreme weather to come.

    • Andrea 8.2

      I am seriously saying that when the spotlight moves the pitiful amount allocated will probably be shifted elsewhere and those working on the project will either ‘follow the money’ or go overseas.

      I am also seriously saying that very little effort will be put into creating and sustaining a working campus for the researchers.

      Further – it is highly unlikely that the applied science work either will be or can be done in this country because the means whereby and the skilled workforce will have been ‘dehydrated and dissipated’. (No. That doesn’t imply any sort of over-long Happy Hour.)

      ‘Oh, Science will save us!’ Like waiting for divine attention at an old time Billy Graham evangelist meeting.

      And – I agree with b waghorn: the moment you bring money into the story – that’s where the focus will be, and those who stand to make unearned/undeserved profits will be in like starving goldfish at feeding time. It will not address the issues at all.

      If the minnows at the lower end of the food chain cannot avoid the imposition of this crazy Monopoly-variation tax by taking alternative action such as buying a cheap-enough low emissions vehicle, or local sourcing, then the whole ets is nothing but a no-win charade. Gaia will be giggling as her bath fills…

      I wonder when the Greens will arrive with the other part of the equation – the piece that gives the population choices instead of the affliction of another tax. They’re not doing too well so far. Bless.

    • Shona 8.3

      Mathew $250 million per annum is a realistic amount, if we are remotely serious about dealing with climate change in any effective manner.
      The funds can be found by raising income tax on the top 3% to 45% inline with the US and Australia.
      An FTT is also long overdue along with the abolition of GST and the introduction of a CGT. Now would not be too soon for any of these taxes. Any whiners and rich parasites who bailed out of NZ would given a free farewell at Auckland airport ( middle fingers raised in a suitable salute to the scum) from the legions of underfed Maori and Pasifika children who largely make up the inexcusable statistic of 270,000 children who do not get enough eat each day in NZ.
      That Key brushes this shameful statistic off proves to any one with a working brain what a piece of sh** he truly is!

  9. A voter 9

    LOVE THAT word RESEARCH in its purest but this govt DOING SFA because it should have been a priority not saving the free market from its own constructed demise
    The Free Market can survive without govt controls Yeah f… but not without its bail out money
    HYPOCRISY PAY UP YOU SHYSTERS FREELOADERS

  10. RedLogix 10

    What gets me is that is a few years time when the denialists have been utterly discredited and the need for urgent action becomes uncontroversial – is that the Tories will turn around and blame the left for ‘how long it took to get to an agreement’ – and promptly take all the credit for achieving action.

    • felix 10.1

      Yep.

      Matt Hooton is already preparing the lines.

    • Colonial Rawshark 10.2

      Do none of these people have grandchildren? Do none of them have children under 20 that they want to have grow old in some kind of moderately survivable world?

      • RedLogix 10.2.1

        Short answer no. Here’s why.

        Most people are appalled by the idea of their children dying before them. Yet at another level they accept that they inevitably will – after their own passing.

        This is a psychological flaw hard-wired into humans, we just do not have an innate moral horizon beyond our own life-times. It’s why younger people who can see climate change impacting them personally are generally more receptive to the message than older people who will all be dead within 40 years.

        For many older people raised on the ‘forever progress’ fairytale – the possibility that there is a dark demon lurking in the basement of fossil fuels is something that disturbs, dislocates their value system. It’s cheaper to discount AGW by projecting the impacts beyond their lifetime – than to change their beliefs.

        • Colonial Rawshark 10.2.1.1

          Oddly, the idea of leaving a legacy and of leaving a farm better then when you found it, is not that uncommon. This was an age, not that long ago, where stories of ones parents, grandparents and ancestors, would help fix upcoming generations with a perspective longer than their own short lifetime on the planet.

          And we know humans are capable of it in various ways, the recent article the War Nerd has written on martyrdom explains and demonstrates the characteristic. In NZ workers used to build dams and other infrastructure that they had the satisfaction of knowing would benefit the people of the nation for generations.

          • RedLogix 10.2.1.1.1

            Yes – but both cases hinge on there being something tangible in the present to direct the intention onto. The farm, the hydro dam, the cathedral – whatever.

            Problem with climate change is that we keep focusing on a negation – not emitting fossil carbon. Humans are very weak at simply NOT doing something for a future reward. Like stopping smoking or drinking.

            And therein lies a big fat cluebat.

  11. Troy 11

    “If the behaviour you’re trying to change is something you have no answer for and the farmer can’t control ……….then aren’t you just really putting a tax on them for the sake of it?” Mr Key said this morning.

    What a weak and misleading argument. If that is your test for action then why price any emissions? Coal miners can’t stop their coal emitting, gas miners can’t stop their natural gas emitting, cement manufacturers can’t stop that damn limestone calcining, poor forest owners can’t stop deforestation releasing stored carbon……

    The point is that there are many alternative ways to produce energy, to use fertile land, transport goods, produce protein or whatever. Internalizing pollution costs ensures we do it all at least economic cost.

    New Zealand changes land use faster than just about anywhere, and when the pollution subsidies are removed from dairying, Farms that are not economic will switch to the most profitable use. End of story. There are no sacred cows John.

  12. rich the other 12

    Worth a read and makes our dairy cows seem very insignificant .

    India’s coal mining plans may represent the biggest obstacle to a global climate pact to be negotiated at a conference in Paris next year. While the United States and China announced a landmark agreement that includes new targets for carbon emissions, and Europe has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent, India, the world’s third-largest emitter, has shown no appetite for such a pledge.

    “India’s development imperatives cannot be sacrificed at the altar of potential climate changes many years in the future,” India’s power minister, Piyush Goyal, said at a recent conference in New Delhi in response to a question. “The West will have to recognize we have the needs of the poor.”

    Mr. Goyal has promised to double India’s use of domestic coal from 565 million tons last year to more than a billion tons by 2019, and he is trying to sell coal-mining licenses as swiftly as possible after years of delay. The government has signaled that it may denationalize commercial coal mining to accelerate extraction.

    .

    • b waghorn 12.1

      Caught a show yesterday saying china is putting 1.5 million new cars on the road a month. Nz should be working on how to cope with worst case scenarios of climate change imo

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