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Important for New Zealand to deal with climate cha

Important for New Zealand to deal with climate change

It is vital that countries as reliant on primary production as New Zealand do not ignore the issues of climate change, Acting Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said today.

Mr O'Connor said it would be irresponsible for the Government not to be working to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

"This is an international issue that has to be dealt with through an international mechanism? we cannot do this on our own. The Kyoto Protocol is the only such mechanism available.

"It is only appropriate that New Zealand be involved right from the start. This is an issue as important as trade liberalisation to us, and we have been in the forefront of that work as well. By being involved right from the start, we can be more influential than our size alone provides for, and we can drive where the process is going."

Mr O'Connor said he regretted that other political parties were too short-sighted to see this, instead preferring to wait till other nations gained a competitive advantage over New Zealand.

"The Government's decision to exempt the agriculture sector from emissions charges is a clear signal that we have the wellbeing of our farmers and citizens at heart.

"In fact, New Zealand is one of the few developed economies which may make a direct and early profit from Kyoto, because of our forest sinks and potential wind and hydro energy sources."

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