December 21, 2022

Foul winds: the dangers of NZ's fart tax

Foul winds: the dangers of NZ's fart tax

New Zealand's new "fart tax" could silence small towns. 19 years ago the NZ government tried & failed. Now it's imposing a methane levy on farm animals. Politicians admit that at least 20% of cow & sheep farming will disappear.

Taxes can be used to achieve behavioural change. Peter the Great’s tax on beards persuaded Russians to shave them off. But in this case no-one has told the cows to fart less. In practice it’s just a tax on farmers and the communities they support. Will that fix the climate?

A "fart tax" is a charge on farms and farmers.

The President of the Federated Farmers of New Zealand has said the tax will “rip the guts out of small-town New Zealand” by driving farmers to sell their land to forestry companies. The tax’s intended result is fewer cows & sheep in New Zealand.

New Zealand is the world’s largest dairy exporter.So that means either more expensive dairy products or cow and sheep numbers will increase elsewhere unless fart taxes are applied by other countries such as Britain. Either way, food will get more expensive.

Could a fart tax be heading our way? The Dutch government proposed one earlier this year but was met with a wave of protests. The UN (specifically the FAO) has been pondering the idea for 10 years. Once the NZ domino falls, international pressure will mount.

The Dutch government's proposals were met with protest.

Extending the fart tax to humans is not currently under discussion, but you never know.Maybe a special tax on beans and Jerusalem artichokes?Stranger things have happened. Ours is the country that imposed the brick tax and the candle tax.