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Whilst it’s important to support action on climate change, it must not be at the expense of the economic well-being of the Central Otago and Upper Clutha region, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.

“National will support the Climate Change Response Act Amendment Bill through its first reading, but the Government will have a fight on its hands over its proposed methane targets and the potential economic risks posed.

“I support moves to reduce emissions, but strongly oppose the suggested targets which I believe are out of sync with current scientific thinking and could place huge economic stress on the farming community.

“Other elements of this bill, including the establishment of an independent Climate Change Commission and a framework for reducing New Zealand’s emissions, are positive.

“But the proposed 24-47 percent reduction in methane is a big concern, it’s not reflective of scientific advice and a range of scientific reports suggest agriculture would contribute no further warming with a 10-22 percent reduction.

“This is precisely the sort of decision the independent Climate Change Commission would be best placed to consider, rather than having the Government rush the target through without proper consultation and at a cost to the country.

“An estimated $300 billion is also forecast to be stripped from the New Zealand economy between now and 2050, according to the Bill’s Regulatory Impact Statement, with these costs having adetrimental effect on people in places like Central Otago and the Upper Clutha.

“Of course we need to reduce emissions, and support global efforts to avoid climate change, but we also need to be open and honest about the potential economic costs of doing so.

“National will fight this issue hard in select committee, but I also call on farmers and farming groups to stand up to the Government and make sure their voices are heard.”

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