This decision means a farmer can’t sell their units except through a licence-holder. So all those organizations looking for an income stream from aggregating or pooling units into parcels of suitable size to be traded – the Landcare groups, the farmers groups, those thinking of forming into cooperatives, consultancies with large client bases – will find there is a snout in the trough when they get there. Not only will the return to the farmer be reduced by extra costs, but compliance costs will include time spent training and auditing everyone involved in the process.
This decision also adds a fourth layer of bureaucracy to this market mechanism, the others being the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee, the Carbon Credits Administrator, and the Land Sector Carbon and Biodiversity Advisory Board. As well regional NRM bodies are being given a ‘guidance’ role with farmers wanting to get involved.
Does the decision to treat an offset unit as a financial product instead of as a commodity guarantee that there will be derivative markets formed in which traders will make more money out of them than the farmers who created them? (This is a common fear expressed by farmers.)
Among the laws that were changed to protect buyers included those against money laundering by the Mafia or terrorists. Where are the laws to protect farmers against those they fear more than terrorists or gangsters: the market sharks?