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First post-emissions trading poll shows support

First post-emissions trading law poll shows support, but huge knowledge gap

The first nationwide poll on the newly-passed emissions trading law shows more New Zealanders support than oppose the policy.

But only 10% of people feel "well informed" on emissions trading, while 46% feel "somewhat informed".

The survey of 2204 respondents was conducted between 9.30am September 10 and 10am September 11, 2008, by ShapeNZ, using its national online research panel.

Parliament passed the bill providing for the introduction of New Zealand emissions trading system at 9.37pm September 10, midway through this polling period.

There is continuing high concern among New Zealanders over climate change: 76% believe it is a problem to be dealt with now (51%) or urgently (25%).

On the pace of response to climate change, 72% believe the country is moving at about the right pace (39%) or too slowly (33%). Only 25% believe the country is moving too quickly, while 4% don't know.

Asked if they agree with the emissions trading system policy 39% agree (9% strongly), while 26% disagree (13% strongly). 26% neither agree nor disagree, while 6% don't know.

The poll reveals reluctant support among those who oppose emissions trading – but accept it is needed: 27% say they are of this view.

Meantime, while the country now as a trading scheme, few feel well informed.

While one in 10 feel well informed, 46 in 100 feel "somewhat informed". Some 28% feel "somewhat uninformed" and 13% say they are uninformed.

Even among business decision makers polled, only 16% felt well informed, while 49% felt somewhat informed. Some 27% of business people felt somewhat uninformed and 8% uninformed.

The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development, which runs the ShapeNZ research service to provide public input into policy making, says the results give a broad tick to emissions trading, the pace of action on climate change – but show up a huge knowledge gap which must be tackled.

Business Council CEO Peter Neilson says the information gap has to be plugged if businesses and households are to effectively take action to lower emissions.

"While the emissions trading scheme may initially involve only about 400 firms with high emissions as points of obligation, the new move to put a price on will affect every business and household. We need to take other steps to encourage innovation and investment in low-carbon technology, and to help people take action to lower their own emissions. There are huge benefits to be had from having New Zealanders fully informed and engaged."

The ShapeNZ respondents were weighted by age, gender, personal income, employment status and party vote 2005 to provide a representative population sample. The maximum margin of error at a 95% confidence level is +/- 2.1% on the full sample, and +/- 4.3% on a sub sample of 512 business decision makers.

Decision makers are defined by their occupation categories of business manager, proprietor, self employed.


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