The New Zealand Labour government has delayed the implementation of its climate plan to price greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
Initially slated for the first quarter, the scheme will now commence at the end of 2025 as the general election looms. With 10 million cattle and 26 million sheep, agriculture accounts for nearly half of New Zealand's total emissions, primarily from methane.
Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor emphasised the need for a "workable, effective, fiscally responsible" system, adding that scientifically validated carbon sequestration, like tree planting, would be recognised in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme.
Farmers have previously protested the proposal, and New Zealand's red-meat lobby groups expressed dismay at the plan. Kate Acland, chair of Beef + Lamb New Zealand, stated that the sector is "making good progress" towards emission reduction targets, questioning the rationale for pricing.
The Labour government argues the plan is vital to curb climate change and that it could give Kiwi meat a competitive edge. Some farmers, however, are concerned it may harm profits and inadvertently increase emissions by shifting farming to less efficient countries.
The opposition National party, the largest opposition force, is contemplating a similar tax from 2030 onwards.