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Reports Show Serious Economic Damage to NZ

Reports Show Serious Economic Damage to NZ from Kyoto Protocol

Monday 3 Dec 2001 Ken Shirley Press Releases -- Environment & Conservation

ACT deputy leader Ken Shirley says the government must heed the advice of economists and business leaders who are urging caution with ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

"Successive New Zealand governments have naively displayed messianic fervour for the Kyoto Protocol in the mistaken belief that New Zealand's interests will not jeopardised," Mr Shirley said.

"We've had two reports in recent months from the NZEIR, both projecting serious damage to the New Zealand economy should we ratify this protocol. This is only economic analysis that's been done on this crucial issue.

"The first report, released in September, included the shock revelation that New Zealand's commercial forestry sector would not be the expected winner under Kyoto but rather would be a net loser.

"The latest report, released today, models the New Zealand economy and shows serious damage resulting from ratification - with an 18 percent reduction in economic growth after 15 years. We know that our steel and cement manufacturing industries would be immediate casualties from ratification, and the dairy industry and pastoral farming face huge costs which will reduce their international competitiveness - leading to disinvestment and job losses.

"Energy Minister Pete Hodgson returned from Marrakech crowing about concessions that have been negotiated for Russia and Japan - yet he seems determined to expose New Zealand to the most strident compliance costs of any nation.

"Other nations have negotiated considerably more advantageous conditions for themselves, including Canada, Japan and Australia - none of which have agreed to ratify next year.

"We should not ignore the significance of President Bush's refusal to ratify this treaty, which the US described as fundamentally flawed. We must also bear in mind the harsh reality that many of our trading partners and competitors have no obligation whatsoever to fulfil.

"The New Zealand government should rein in its fervour and listen to the economists on this issue. We should at least proceed with extreme caution, ensuring that we don't move ahead of other nations. The goal should be to negotiate our way through the first reporting period to 2012 without inflicting economic damage and leaving our options open," Mr Shirley said.


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