Over the fence
Climate Change Commission: carbon farming
On 31 May, the Climate Change Commission provided Parliament with its final advice on the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme before the government sets the first of three emissions budgets later this year. In this advice there was significant consideration on land use and the impacts of afforestation.
The Commission recommended the Emissions Trading Scheme be amended to manage exotic afforestation and provide assistance for local government in mitigating the local impacts of afforestation.
If the government implements the Commission’s recommendation, carbon farming returns for planting exotic trees, such as Pinus, will decrease, while the carbon farming returns for planting native forest blocks will either remain constant or increase.
With a large proportion of carbon sinks across New Zealand planted in Pinus, this will have an impact on both existing forestry blocks and blocks that will be planted in the future. The Commission has instead shifted its focus to reduce gross carbon dioxide which is largely produced by burning fossil fuels.
We will watch how the Commission’s recommendations progress during the year, and will provide more information as it comes to hand.
Dairy worker border exception process
In order to address an acute shortage of experienced dairy sector workers, in June the Minister of Agriculture approved a Class Border Exception for 200 migrant dairy farm workers, along with their families, to enter New Zealand. There were 150 positions available for herd managers or assistant farm managers and 50 farm assistants. In addition, 50 general practice vets (and their families) were granted exemptions to enter New Zealand.
An assistant farm manager must earn over $92,000pa and have at least two to four years’ work experience; herd managers must earn above $79,500pa. Farm assistants must earn above the median wage which is classified as $27.00/hour and roles must be in regions that have acute shortages of dairy sector workers.
All workers must come into New Zealand before April 2022. Employers must make a commitment to pay the costs for Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) and pay their worker’s salary whilst they are in MIQ.
It is estimated that the workers will be on the farm approximately 17 weeks from the initial application.
What is a ‘state of emergency’?
In late May, the mayors in mid-Canterbury declared a local state of emergency due to the significant flooding affecting the region. Then, in mid-July, a local state of emergency was declared in the Westport area. Many people are curious about what this entails and to understand the powers given to the authorities in a local state of emergency. We explain…
The Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002 defines a local state of emergency as a declaration by an authorised person, such as a mayor or the Minister of Civil Defence, that an emergency has or is likely to occur within an area. A local state of emergency lasts for a minimum period of seven days
from the date and time of the declaration.
The local civil defence group (which includes emergency services, police and volunteers) is then deployed who may, for example, set up first aid posts, provide shelter to those affected and assist with the rescue
of people in danger. In a nutshell, a local state of emergency allows the authorities to protect people and the community.
Most importantly, the leader of the civil defence group has the power to enforce the evacuation of an area, authorise entering a premise to save lives and enforce road closures; all of these were implemented when Ashburton’s stock banks were at risk of breaching the township and Westport was flooded.