three black and white cows
Photo by Matthias Zomer on

New Zealand has a plan to tax farmers for their livestock's burps and farts — and it's causing a stink ahead of Saturday's general elections.

The economy is driven by agriculture with around 10 million cattle and 25 million sheep roaming the nation's pastures. Just under half of New Zealand's emissions come from agriculture, and cattle are the main culprits.

Their belches and farts contain methane, which is far less abundant in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, but is responsible for around 30 per cent of the global rise in temperatures to date.

New Zealand's government has targeted livestock as it drives towards a target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It is one of the first countries to announce it will start pricing agricultural emissions — in effect taxing burps and farts from livestock.

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