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Business Cl welcomes Environmental Tax initiative

Business Council welcomes Environmental Tax initiative

The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (the Business Council) welcomes the Government’s proposed tax changes to encourage companies to be more environmentally responsible.

Peter Neilson, Chief Executive of the Business Council said: “We agree that it makes good business sense to ensure that environmental costs like other business costs are taken into account for tax purposes. Rewarding companies for responsible environmental performance is just as important as penalizing failure to comply with legislation.”

A report released by the Business Council in November 2003 highlighted economic incentives as an effective way to encourage organizations and individuals to change their behaviour. The report was prepared by Ecologic. The Business Council is hosting a series of seminars in Auckland, Nelson and Wellington to raise awareness of issues such as congestion, cleaning up urban air, waste management and water allocation with business and local communities.

Neilson added: “Whilst we encourage business specific incentives, we also believe that the “carrot and stick” approach works just as well for individuals too. For example the introduction of toll fast lanes on Auckland motorways would better manage traffic congestion and promote the use of the public transport. Investment in Auckland’s public sector transport system is of course fundamental to providing people with alternative means of travel into and around the city. However we have one of the highest cars per capita ratio in the world with three out of five New Zealanders owning a vehicle and given the low population density of Auckland, improved public transport alone is unlikely to solve its traffic problems. That the Government is using economic incentives to drive sustainable development is very welcome and we look forward to future initiatives.”

For information:-

The Business Council is a coalition of around 50 leading businesses united by a shared commitment to sustainable development via the three pillars of economic growth, environmental protection and social progress. Its mission is to provide business leadership as a catalyst for change towards sustainable development, and promotes eco-efficiency, innovation and responsible entrepreneurship.

Peter Neilson was appointed Chief Executive in April 2004 to spearhead the Business Council’s move towards policy development and advocacy work. Peter is a former cabinet minister of revenue, customs and works and was associate minister for state-owned enterprises and finance under the Lange Labour Government. Following a period as Leader of the Opposition’s Economic Advisor, Peter moved to private industry, managing a number of international advisory roles, with Ernst & Young and more recently with the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research.

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