How we helped
Castalia showed that the proposed cap-and-trade system for nitrates emissions was not an optimal response to nitrate pollution. Our analysis demonstrated that, because it was impossible to measure actual nitrates run-off from farms, the emissions trading system did not promote environmentally-friendly farming practices such as creation of natural buffers between grazing lands and water courses. We showed that more direct regulation of farming practices would be at least as effective in limiting nitrate emissions, but have lower economic costs, and treat non-dairying land-owners more fairly.
Review by the Environment Court led to negotiations between non-dairy land-owners and Environment Waikato, which resulted in additional allowances for land-owners who were not currently using land for dairy but were planning to convert. In addition, a public trust was set up to purchase land to retire it from dairying. Overall, over 7,000 hectares have been purchased since the cap and trade scheme became operational, while there have been less than 30 emissions trades.