Oxfam Aotearoa Campaigns Lead Alex Johnston said:
“While this plan starts to trend emissions downwards, we need to be slamming on the brakes, not slowly taking our foot off the accelerator.
“We acknowledge progress has been made to get all government departments to understand the task of tackling climate change, but there’s a failure to produce policies that will meaningfully reduce pollution from industrial agriculture – responsible for half our emissions.
“We’ve got another agriculture institute for developing new techno-fixes, but no real policies that will shift production systems away from intensive, volume-based dairy. The hidden consequence of this is paying billions of dollars to other countries – countries experiencing the worst impacts of the climate destruction we caused – to pick up our slack.
“When the world is required to halve emissions by 2030 to keep within 1.5 degrees, a wealthy country like New Zealand saying we’re only going to reduce them by 18 percent in that time is a death sentence for those set to experience the worst impacts of climate change.
“Going slow and steady is a decision that treat the lives of billions of people who are forced into hunger from climate fuelled drought, storms and displacement as expendable. Farmers in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia have lost crops and entire herds of livestock to an exceptionally long and severe drought. Millions of people in East Africa are now on the brink of a hunger catastrophe.
“We know what’s needed to tackle emissions from agriculture: we need big dairy and beef to be brought into the Emissions Trading Scheme at a much stronger emissions price, and turn around the farming sector, from being Aotearoa’s biggest polluter, into a solution for tackling climate change and restoring nature. That involves a phase out of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, and investing billions in organic, regenerative agriculture.”