The Future is Equal

Oxfam reaction to the He Waka Eke Noa proposal

Following the release of the He Waka Eke Noa proposal, Oxfam Aotearoa Climate Campaign Lead Alex Johnston said: 

“Under the ‘He Waka Eke Noa’ proposal, it will take 98 years for agribusiness to pay the same emissions price for its pollution that all other Kiwis pay at the petrol pump. It begs the question, are we really all in this together?  

“The government’s target to reduce agriculture emissions by 4 percent to 5.5 percent by 2030 is not fair, practical or effective. Agriculture is responsible for half of New Zealand’s emissions, and yet is only going to contribute this small amount to our collective target under the Paris Agreement, which is to reduce emissions by 41 percent by 2030. This proposal doesn’t do what it says on the tin. 

“I think about the farmers and fisherfolk on the frontlines of climate change in the Pacific. Those who just want to feed their families, but are struggling to do so due to the impacts of rising sea levels that are destroying their crops. We need our agriculture sector to show what developed economies with historic contributions to climate change can do to reduce emissions and avoid further devastation to farms and livelihoods across the Pacific.”

Oxfam calls for a stronger emissions price to make sure emissions will be reduced in line with the science of keeping to 1.5 degrees. In addition, Oxfam calls for:

  • Pricing to be set in a way that is designed to achieve the targets in the Zero Carbon Act and agriculture’s share of our Nationally Determined Contribution, not simply raise revenue to pay for technology adoption.
  • Emissions need to be priced now, not 2025.
  • The government must scrap the 95 percent discount – the agriculture industry should be paying their fair share.
  • The government needs to invest in equipping farmers to shift production modes and adjust land use to build a flourishing, regenerative organic food and fibre sector.



Regarding the 98-year timeframe: Under ‘He Waka Eke Noa’ farmers won’t start paying an emissions price until the year 2025. There is also a price ceiling proposed by ‘He Waka Eke Noa’ being where the levy rate for each gas is no more than if agriculture entered the Emissions Trading Scheme with legislated 95 percent free allocation in 2025 phasing down by one percentage point per annum. ‘He Waka Eke Noa’ also proposes that the price for methane be frozen for three years of pricing.