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Council reminds political leaders action needed

Business Council reminds political leaders action needed to reduce emissions

Strong political leadership on climate change is required if New Zealand is to lower greenhouse gas emissions – and avoid higher costs and tougher trade competition later.

The chair of the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development, Nick Main, also chair of Deloitte, says the country has signed up to capping emissions through the Kyoto protocol.

Mr Main was responding to calls from some to delay the emissions trading scheme and to a speech yesterday by National party leader John Key in which he said: "Though National supports an emissions trading scheme in principle, we have reservations about the timing of Labour's legislation and the effect it will have on households in its current form."

Mr Main says:

"We must not forget it is about the impact on the climate.

"The only way to reduce the cost of our Kyoto obligation is by reducing emissions. The proposed trading scheme puts a price signal on emissions that will help.

"Economic modeling shows the likely impact will be low. Other modifications to the proposed policy, being recommended by the Business Council and others, should reduce some of the risks to business," Mr Main says.

"The longer we leave it the higher the likely cost and the more difficult the transition."

Not only is New Zealand expected to lower emissions through its Kyoto obligations, but consumers' in our vital overseas markets also expect action.

Mr Main says the Business Council will present its submission on the climate change bill to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee at 6.30 this evening.

The Business Council, whose 73 member companies' annual sales of $44 billion equate to about 34% of gross domestic product in dollar terms, has been promoting an emissions trading scheme, as a way of sending a price signal directly to emitters to reduce emissions, since 2003.

The Business Council will also this evening present MPs with new research showing business and cross-party voter support nationwide for emissions trading.

"No-one wants a new tax. No-one likes to pay. But, as with other major reforms in the past, political leaders need to lead. We need emissions trading to reduce emissions long term, in the interest of New Zealanders' quality of life and economic development and ability to trade in the coming low-carbon world," Mr Main says.

"We need to look beyond a three year election cycle. This is about securing our future for the next 30 to 50 years."

ENDS

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