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Green Paper Gives Cold Comfort

Green Paper Gives Cold Comfort

The Green Paper outlining the Australian Government's thinking on emissions trading shows it is well aligned with New Zealand's plans.

The Green Paper will give little comfort to those looking for major differences between the two countries' plans, in an effort to delay emissions trading here.

The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development says the Australians are proposing to cap the level of assistance to their trade-exposed emitters to 90% of industry-average emissions per unit of output, about the same level as in New Zealand.

Australia is also going to include nearly all sectors, and proposes agriculture will not enter what it calls its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme until at least 2015 (compared with 2013 in New Zealand).

As Australia only proposes to give 30% of its total allocation of emissions units free to trade-exposed major emitters, compared with 79% going to major trade exposed emitters in New Zealand, it will have much more revenue to use to help households and businesses adjust to a price on carbon, and invest in more energy and emissions-efficient technology, Business Council Chief Executive Peter Neilson says.

The Green Paper proposes reducing excise tax to compensate for the initial price rises caused by putting an emissions price on fuel. In New Zealand the imposition of an emissions price on liquid fuels has been postponed by two years until 2011.

"With the New Zealand Government negotiating with parties to get a majority for its emissions trading legislation, what's happening in Australia on transitional assistance for households will be of interest here," Mr Neilson says.

The Business Council is currently polling through the ShapeNZ research service on what New Zealanders want done with any revenue the Government receives from selling emissions units and extra profits projected to be paid by some of its power companies, as a result of emissions trading.

So far nearly 3000 people have responded to the ShapeNZ poll and nationally representative results, showing whether or not the country wants the Government to recycle revenue from emission trading, should be available for release later this week.

New Zealanders are also being polled on who should get any recycled revenue which could be more than $100 million a year and how it should be delivered (through options like personal tax cuts and household electricity bill rebates - or incentives to buy more energy and fuel efficient vehicles and appliances).


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