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Kyoto - All Talk, No Action

The Green Party is deeply disappointed that the Government has ruled out a carbon tax before 2007, in the final strategy on Kyoto announced today.

Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today that while she welcomes ratification, she believes the implementation strategy is extremely weak.

"The Government is putting industrial growth first and the global climate second. That's a very short-sighted plan, especially for a country reliant on primary production which is very vulnerable to climate change.

"The Government has made a critical error in not introducing a carbon tax immediately, even if it was initially set at a relatively low rate to give business time to adjust," said Ms Fitzsimons.

Green Party policy is to tax carbon emissions from fossil fuels and recycle the money into income tax cuts for all taxpayers.

"It's only by making companies pay for their emissions that we will get them to change their behaviour. Instead the Government is to take taxpayers money and give grants to industry for cleaning up their emissions."

Ms Fitzsimons said no real cutbacks in emissions can be expected for at least five years under this plan.

"We have gone back to 1992, when the National Party told industry they had three years to clean up their act or there would be a carbon tax. They didn't and nothing happened.

"With two more elections before 2007 we cannot be sure anything will happen then either," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"As a result of unprecedented heavy lobbying by industry this Government has let the big emission producers off the hook again. The question is when is any Government going to finally have the guts to make the polluter pay?"


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