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Government's Carbon Credit Folly

Government's Carbon Credit Folly

Tuesday 18 May 2004 Ken Shirley Press Releases -- Environment & Conservation

The Government's expropriation of forest-owners' carbon credits is an affront to property rights, as well as being a self-defeating policy, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley said today.

"Tradable carbon credits were designed as an economic instrument to reward those who sequester atmospheric CO2 and penalise emitters. Labour's expropriation has removed the incentive to plant carbon absorbing forests," Mr Shirley said.

"On the other side of the ledger, the Government has again intervened in the market controlling the distribution of the credits. This politicises and debases the whole concept of a tradable economic instrument.

"It represents a step towards a command economy wherein industry must lobby Wellington bureaucrats and go cap in hand to politicians to receive their largesse.

"As a country we learnt hard lessons several decades ago relating to the folly of governments attempting to pick winners. When they do they inevitably get it wrong, distorting investment and stifling innovation.

"If the Government does want to operate a carbon credit regime, it should simply stand in the middle as the neutral regulator setting the framework allowing the market instrument to work effectively," Mr Shirley said.


For more information visit ACT online at or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at

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