He told Dairy News that at a recent meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, some sector leaders updated her on the progress made on the climate partnership He Waka Eke Noa.
“Over the last few months we have been consulting with farmers on options,” he says. “Almost 3,000 farmers turned out to share their views, and we got some really constructive feedback.
“Farmer feedback has given us a clear direction of travel. The sector meeting with the Prime Minister was about taking what we heard from farmers during that consultation and communicating it directly to the Government.”
Van der Poel says farmers have sent a clear message that they want HWEN to be working towards farm-level pricing as soon as possible.
“Their preference is for that to be from the outset in 2025 but would accept a transition from a processor-levy if required,” he says.
“Farmers also want to see the sector have governance oversight over how that money is collected and redistributed as we work with farmers to further reduce emissions.
“I’ve taken that message directly to the Prime Minister, who ultimately is the decision maker on this.”
Van der Poel says their job is to ensure farmer views are taken into consideration in the final recommendation.
“We are focused on getting the best outcome we possibly can for dairy farmers and New Zealand.”
HWEN programme director Kelly Forster says the meeting with Ardern was constructive.
“The meeting was a constructive discussion, covering what partners heard from across the sector during consultation, and the Government’s position that agricultural emissions will be priced by 2025,” she told Dairy News.
The agriculture sector, through the HWEN partnership, has two options for farmers to consider: a farm-level levy and a processor-level levy.
The Government has legislated that agricultural emissions will enter the NZ emissions trading scheme (ETS) if an effective, workable alternative is not put forward by the partnership.
The consultation closed last month and HWEN will make a submission to the Government by May 31, after taking farmer feedback into account.