Today farmers are protesting across New Zealand.
The NZ government is pushing forward with its unpopular plans to tax farmers for livestock “emissions”.
Farmers are already struggling as the costs of agricultural inputs, labour and energy go through the roof. Forcing them to pay more tax would be a knockout punch.
Food prices will certainly increase – possibly quite dramatically.
The government claims it is doing this because they say they need to prevent the next global emergency: climate change.
They admit it will cause a “reduction in quality of living” and “increased stress and mental health issues” (Section 4.4).
As co-CEO of Ooooby, a certified permaculture teacher and someone who lives on a sustainable farm, I can confidently say this:
It will be a disaster.
What about sustainable farms?
Politicians are pushing hard for a tax on farmers that will probably force many to stop farming. This will decimate rural communities and drive up food prices when New Zealanders are already struggling with increasing food prices.
I understand that conventional agriculture pollutes the environment. Science now proves that chemical sprays cause cancer and chronic disease.
Shouldn’t we be converting farms to organic?
Sustainable farms are sustainable. What’s the problem?
Organic, regenerative and biodynamic farms build soil, sequester carbon, increase biodiversity and produce nutrient-rich food.
They don’t use chemicals and artificial fertilisers. They are relatively immune to the rising costs of agricultural inputs. They tend to be smaller and use less energy.
Sustainable farms often employ more people than conventional farms. They keep money in local communities.
To anyone familiar with organics, the solution seems so obvious.
Government documents state they will be “supporting farmers and growers to transition to low-emissions land uses and systems, for example, through investment in regenerative agriculture practices” (Section 2.5).
But with a goal to reduce ’emissions’ to zero by 2050 it sounds like lip-service to me.
Organic farms are not exempt from the tax.
Instead, ‘mitigation strategies’ include precision use of chemicals, methane inhibitors and vaccines, genetic engineering (initially through breeding and later likely through biotech) and low methane feeds. Fonterra says it’s developing a ‘Cowbucha‘ to get rid of the ‘bad bugs’ in cow stomachs.
Bad bugs? Says who?
In my opinion, it’s all hubris.
And why a tax?
My formal education is in economics. Let me get this straight.
Governments around the world are going broke.
They have been virtually dropping money from helicopters the past couple of years. It has caused runaway inflation and recession means tax revenues will go down too.
At some point probably soon it will become impossible to service their debt – let alone ever repay it.
Bureaucrats have two options:
- Reduce the size of government and put themselves out of a job
- Or increase taxes
The government has forecasted their tax income to increase by 33% in the next 4 years (pg. 119).
Furthermore, the only solution to the next global emergency coincidentally increases revenues for the government and justifies radical government intervention and further spending?
But this is only to ‘save the planet’ and it has nothing to do with taxes.
Did I get that right?
Is meat destroying the planet?
On my own health journey, I have experimented with most diets from paleo to raw food vegan.
I am Canadian and have seen first hand how concentration camp farming is terrible for the environment, animal welfare and my health.
But in New Zealand? And why ignore organic agriculture as a solution?
Lab grown meat may not even be safe to eat.
I won’t even comment on eating bugs – unless you are feeding them to backyard chickens or aquaculture fish.
Science now proves that the more organic food you eat, the less likely you are to develop diseases like cancer, parkison’s and autism.
The Guardian recently declared organic farming to be the most dangerous.
This defies common sense.
The most famous farmer in the world and author Joel Salatin has debunked the New York Times on their article ‘The Myth of Sustainable Meat’. His TEDx talk ‘Cows, Carbon and Climate’ is a must watch too, if you want to learn more.
It doesn’t makes sense
Like many important topics today, it’s sad that there is no room for nuanced discussion. You’re either a meat-eating planet-destroyer or you’re an eco-fascist.
It’s clear that conventional farming is unsustainable. In a free market, skyrocketing fertiliser and chemical costs encourage farmers to convert to organic and sustainable methods.
This is already happening.
Comically, the government claims their plans “offer an opportunity for farmers, growers and rural communities to transition to more resilient and sustainable land use” (pg. 66).
But organic, biodynamic or regenerative farming is not included is their definition of ‘sustainable’ and will be taxed as well.
Their plan will only be successful at wiping out farms – the work horse of the New Zealand economy.
Local food is sustainable and healthy
If bureaucrats don’t wreck everything first, I see a day coming where organic food will be less expensive than conventional food.
An organic farmer can produce food at reasonable prices when knowledge of microbiology and manure is their source of soil fertility and pest control. Energy use and costs are reduced further when customers live nearby.
A local food system keeps the environment, people and communities healthy and resilient.
This is what Ooooby is all about.
In my view, we don’t need government intervention, biotechnology or corporations to feed us or ‘save the planet’.
Ronald Reagan famously said “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.”
What do you think?
Comment below and check out my guide How to Grow Your Own Food. A new article is published every week.