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Kyoto Protocol – United Future’s Position

Kyoto Protocol – United Future’s Position

United Future has strong reservations about New Zealand ratifying the Kyoto Protocol in the near future. We do take the climate change issue seriously and believe measures should be taken to address it, however we think such measures should be tailored to suit New Zealand’s unique economic and geographic situation and should be part of a truly global solution.

One reason for is that a proper impact assessment has not yet been carried out as to the potential costs of ratification to the New Zealand economy. The consequences of ratification could be particularly harmful to our international competitiveness in terms of trade, as well as to our domestic economy from factors like increased energy costs. (The energy issue is of increasing concern for New Zealand given the potential electricity shortages and increased natural gas prices we may already be facing within the next 2-3 years. The last thing we should do is take measures that restrict our options even further).

Another reason is that several of our main trading partners – particularly the US and Australia – have either said they will not ratify Kyoto, or else they are not bound by the first commitment period. To minimise the economic consequences of ratification, a small trading nation like New Zealand at least needs to be on an equal footing with its main trading partners before implementing the protocol. The result of not doing so could be lost export markets and the “leakage” of export oriented or energy intensive industries to non-signatory nations like Australia. In other words New Zealand would face heavy economic costs for no overall environmental gain.


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