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Feedback sought on proposal to defer date for farmers’ emissions reporting

The Ministry for the Environment sought feedback on the Government's proposal to defer the date animal farmers become liable for their emissions under the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme.



About the proposal

A later date for animal farmers to monitor, report and surrender emissions can be set by the Governor General by Order in Council under the Climate Change Response Act (CCRA).

The Government proposes deferring the date by two years, from 1 January 2024 to 1 January 2026.

Since 2019, the Government has been working in partnership with the primary sector and Māori on an alternative farm-level agricultural emissions pricing system to replace the NZ ETS. Deferring the date would give the Government more time to continue to develop policy for an alternative levy system.

Apart from Acts of Parliament, Orders in Council are the main method the Government uses to action decisions that need legal force.

Background to the proposal

Participants in the NZ ETS have ‘surrender obligations’ which means they must pay the Government for their emissions. Currently, all sectors apart from agriculture have surrender obligations. 

Fertiliser and animal processors

From 2025, fertiliser and animal processors are required to pay for their agricultural emissions.

Animal farmers

From 1 January 2024, the CCRA requires animal farmers to:

  • register with the Environmental Protection Authority
  • start monitoring their emissions and report them the following year. Surrender obligations start a year later.  

This means that, under current law, from 1 January 2025 animal farmers will be liable for their emissions through the NZ ETS.  

These provisions are sometimes referred to as the NZ ETS backstop. 

What happens if the date is deferred

If the date for animal farmers to monitor, report and surrender emissions is deferred, the processor-level NZ ETS backstop will remain in place as set out in the CCRA. This is until an alternative system is in place.

When legislation for an alternative system for pricing agricultural emissions is introduced, the relevant NZ ETS obligations would be repealed.