The Green Party wants to replace the Emissions Trading Scheme with a fund that would return dividends of up to $250 per person each year.
As part of its climate change policy announced in Auckland today, the party says the Kiwi Climate Fund would put a charge on all climate pollution, including farmers, and pay people for planting trees.
The Greens leader James Shaw said the charge on agriculture emissions, starting in 2020, would reduce an average dairy farm’s profitability by less than 2 percent.
“No farmer I’ve talked to wants their child to inherit a world with longer droughts and drier rivers. Agriculture can no longer be exempt from reducing climate pollution; farmers need to be part of the solution,” he said.
The fund would charge $40 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions and $6 per tonne of nitrous oxide and $3 per tonne of methane emissions from agriculture.
“We say tax pollution more, and peoples’ incomes less,” Mr Shaw said.
The Green Party would drop the bottom tax rate from 10.5 percent to 9 percent.
The party has also reiterated its pledge to legally bind all future governments to the goal of reaching zero emissions by 2050.
It would do this by passing a Zero Carbon Act in its first 100 days in government.
The party would also establish an independent Climate Commission, and public investment funds to divest from companies directly involved in exploration, mining, and production of fossil fuels.
Other initiatives include creating a new humanitarian visa category for people displaced by climate change in the Pacific, and a fund to help farmers transition to sustainable agriculture.
“It hit me that climate change isn’t about generations unborn any more,” Mr Shaw said after watching online coverage of monsoon floods in India and Bangladesh, and the hurricanes that hit Houston and Caribbean islands.
“We are living in the climate changed world. And politicians are still just talking,” he said.
“Most of the time politics is the art of compromise. It’s about negotiation. You come to an arrangement. You meet each other half way.
“But you can’t negotiate with climate change.”