The government of New Zealand has decided to delay the requirement for farmers to report climate change emissions until later next year.

The mandatory reporting of farm-level emissions, which had been due to come into force from January 1 next, will now start in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2024.

The government has confirmed that an emissions pricing system will now start in Q4 of 2025, rather than the first quarter of that year.

Work will also get underway to allow scientifically validated forms of on-farm sequestration of emissions to be included in the county’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

The announcement confirmed a split-gas approach, which would treat methane and nitrous oxide as separate to carbon dioxide (CO2).


“Our decisions accommodate the key issues raised by the partners on timelines, and also set a framework for the factors that will determine the farm-level levy price.

“Our plan is one that supports farmers’ transition, helps secure their future export growth, and works alongside our other climate policies to continue reducing our emissions,” the country’s Minister for Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, said.

He said that New Zealand’s future food and fibre export growth would depend on the country demonstrating its sustainability credentials.

“The decisions announced today (Friday, August 18) set out a path that gives farmers certainty and addresses the ever-strengthening market signals from overseas on climate,” he said.

“We believe the best approach to rewarding sequestration on-farm is putting scientifically validated forms into the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS), rather than establishing a parallel system.

“This will provide a pathway for methods such as indigenous vegetation or riparian plantings to be recognised, and research is already happening in this space,” Minister O’Connor added.

He said that it is “vital farmers can accurately measure and manage their emissions, prior to the start of farm-level pricing”.

New Zealand

The New Zealand government is investing over NZ$300 million over four years through Budget 2022 to get new tools and technology to reduce on-farm emissions to farmers quicker and provide extra on-the-ground support to adapt.

The government is partnering with the agricultural sector to invest NZ$54 million into the first projects through the Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions to bring down emissions

This includes developing a methane inhibiting bolus, increasing the pool of researchers with skills in agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation, and building a new greenhouse gas testing facility for large cattle.

The 2023 Budget allocated NZ$15.4 million in 2023-24 to continue the development of a system to enable farmers and their advisers to calculate and report agricultural emissions.

“Everyone should understand that New Zealand has international Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) targets that, if not met by 2030, will see us paying billions offshore to offset emissions.

“I believe farmers would prefer to begin paying a levy now that is ring-fenced within the sector to drive the technology we need to contribute to our NDC targets and meet consumer expectations,” O’Connor said.


Beef and Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) said there are “dismayed” at the government policy, which is currently out for public consultation.

“The arbitrary deadline set by the government for pricing agricultural emissions has no justification given the sector’s progress in reducing emissions and the scale of issues that still need to be addressed,” they said.

“The focus should be on setting up a practical and cost effective emissions measurement and reporting framework, and ensuring issues like sequestration are resolved and there are viable mitigation tools available, before any pricing is considered.

“There is no sound rationale for pricing when the sector is making good progress towards meeting emissions reduction targets,” Kate Acland, chair of B+LNZ, said.

The organisations said that New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers are “among the most efficient producers in the world” and have reduced emissions by 1% annually for the past 30 years.

“This policy will simply drive down our production and result in other less efficient countries taking our place and pushing up global emissions.

“New Zealand is the first country in the world to seek to price agricultural emissions and there is no blueprint to copy.

“Given that our economy is built around the production and export of food, it is essential we take the time to get this right,” Acland added.