Banks, a2 Milk join AgriZeroNZ, boosting emissions tool fund by $18 million

10 April 2024

L-R: Fraser Whineray, AgriZeroNZ Director; Hon Todd McClay, Minister of Agriculture & Trade; Wayne McNee, AgriZeroNZ Chief Executive

The a2 Milk Company, ANZ Bank New Zealand and ASB Bank are the latest big names to get behind AgriZeroNZ and its efforts to equip Kiwi farmers with tools to reduce emissions. 

Announcing the new shareholders at an event at Parliament on Wednesday 10 April, Hon. Todd McClay, Minister of Agriculture and Trade, also confirmed the Government would match the new private sector contributions dollar-for-dollar, bolstering the AgriZeroNZ fund by $18 million.

AgriZeroNZ Director Fraser Whineray says the move strengthens the JV's focus on supporting farmers and securing the agricultural sector’s future.

“New Zealand farmers are highly efficient producers of grass-fed milk and meat and they work hard to keep our economy going, but global customers, trade partners and lenders are demanding more in emissions reduction.

“Our partnership was set up to deliver a step change in investment to get emissions reduction tools into farmers’ hands so we can meet these targets and maintain market access."

I’m pleased more of the private sector is joining us to back farmers - reinforcing our ambition and demonstrating their commitment to ensuring farmers can reduce emissions and maintain their competitive edge on the world stage.

Fraser Whineray, AgriZeroNZ Director

The new shareholders join ANZCO, Fonterra, Rabobank, Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms and Synlait with the government retaining 50 per cent ownership through the Ministry for Primary Industries. This takes AgriZeroNZ’s total funds to $183 million over its first four years.

"The addition of more banks reflects a growing emphasis on sustainable finance and sends a strong message that the finance industry is actively supporting farmers to achieve real progress.

"Welcoming The a2 Milk Company also widens the dairy base, so almost all farmers are now connected to us. This will be key to support uptake of emissions reduction tools on all New Zealand farms," Whineray said

New vaccine venture

It’s hoped that a methane vaccine for ruminant animals will be one of these tools, Whineray said, with Kiwi scientists having worked on its development since 2007, achieving many world-leading discoveries.

The vaccine research has been led by AgResearch and funded by the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGGRC), New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC), Ministry for Primary Industries and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Today, Minister McClay also revealed a new way forward for this important work, with AgriZeroNZ to establish a new methane vaccine venture. This will roll up more than 15 years of pioneering research into one entity, to support a stronger focus on vaccine development and attract international funding to help deliver a world-first solution to market.

This follows AgriZeroNZ's earlier commitment of up to $1.5 million into the methane vaccine development programme while it explored ways to accelerate it.

“A methane vaccine is highly sought-after as a low cost, high-impact solution to reduce agricultural emissions and Kiwi scientists have done some ground-breaking work in this space over the years. We're confident this new venture will significantly boost their work and help get the vaccine into farmers’ hands sooner,” Whineray said.

AgriZeroNZ is now investing an additional $1 million to setup the new venture which will operate as a standalone entity but continue to be co-funded by the JV.

The event at Parliament was attended by up to 130 policy makers and agricultural sector representatives.

It marked one year since the unique public-private partnership was launched on 1 February 2023.

To date, the JV has now committed more than $22 million to accelerate development of emissions reduction tools for pasture-based farms.

This includes funding for a methane inhibiting bolus, novel probiotics, New Zealand research for a methane vaccine and inhibitor, and construction of a greenhouse gas testing facility.

The JV continues to welcome other shareholders to further boost its fund and reach.

Media contact: Ashleigh Sattler +64273132627