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Kyoto calculation revelations cause major concern

17 June 2005

Kyoto calculation revelations cause Chamber major concern

“We and many others inside and outside of Government have been saying that the Kyoto Government’s maths did not add up for years, only to be told repeatedly by Government Ministers and officials that we were wrong. Now we are being told that we were correct”, said Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Charles Finny today.

“Rather than feeling a ‘we told you so’ type satisfaction we are deeply alarmed first, that such an error has been made, and second, that the basis for such an important policy change was clearly so deeply flawed. The Government yesterday admitted that its cost benefit calculations were wrong. Incredibly, they have discovered this too late. We can’t withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol until 2008.”

The Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce today called for Government to come clean on a range of issues:

- How could this mistake have been made?
- What is being done to ensure that serious errors are never made again?
- Are the officials and/or Ministers responsible for such an enormous error being held accountable and how?
- Now that we know that the Kyoto Protocol is going to be a net cost to the economy, is the Government prepared to consult afresh with business and other interested parties with a view to considering the possibility of withdrawing from the Protocol in 2008 as we are entitled to do in accordance with Article 27 of the Protocol?

Charles Finny commented that he had deep reservations about New Zealand’s understanding about the full implications of signing and then ratifying the Protocol for several years. “We had seen a range of assessments from economists inside Government and outside which seemed to prove that the Government’s case for the Protocol being of net economic benefit to New Zealand did not stack up. But following continual messages from Government that its numbers were correct, like many we decided to give the Government the benefit of the doubt. Clearly this was a mistake.”

“Pete Hodgson said that he was calling for a peer review of the analysis that he released yesterday. That’s a good step. But he needs to do more. We need to know how this problem has developed, and we need to make sure that Government gets better advice in the future,” Charles Finny noted. “We also need to assure ourselves that the Kyoto Protocol is the best vehicle to achieve the worthy policy aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If we conclude that the Protocol is not the best way forward then we should exercise our right to withdraw” Finny concluded.

ENDS

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