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Kyoto Protocol debate must be broad and balanced

Wednesday, 26 September 2001 Media Statement

Kyoto Protocol debate must be broad and balanced

The forestry industry must take a broader and more balanced view of the Kyoto Protocol, says the convenor of the ministerial group on climate change Pete Hodgson.

"It is too easy, when faced with change, to take an overly conservative stance and focus on negatives," Mr Hodgson said. "The forestry industry and some others in the business community look like falling into this trap when they consider the impact of the protocol.

"The fact is that the protocol is now highly likely to come into force internationally, regardless of New Zealand's position. New Zealand is too small to make the protocol come into force, or to stop it. We must prepare for it rather than resort to isolationism and attempt to ignore it."

Mr Hodgson said an NZIER report released today by the NZ Forest Industries Council was an example of an analysis focused on the negative.

"NZIER has delivered the forestry industry a report that looks very closely at the risks for the wood processing industry associated with ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. The report does not examine benefits and opportunities with anything like the same determination.

"Nor does the report recognise that when considering climate change policy the Government takes into account the effects on industry, including the competitiveness impacts. There will be options for offsetting negative effects in a fair and equitable way."

Mr Hodgson said the Government would be listening closely to business and other views on climate change policy during a public consultation process that will begin in mid-October.

"We look forward to informed debate with the public and industry sectors during the consultation process. It is very important that this debate is guided by a wide and balanced view of the climate change issue, rather than narrow and negative views of particular sectoral interests."

ENDS

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