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Time for Labour to come clean on cost of Kyoto

Brian Connell National Party Forestry Spokesman

9 June 2005

Time for Labour to come clean on cost of Kyoto

National Party Forestry spokesman Brian Connell says its time for Labour to come clean on the cost of implementing the Kyoto Protocol.

A report by Castalia Consultancy on the Kyoto Protocol has found that New Zealand could face a bill of up to $14 billion over the next 20 years.

In Parliament today Pete Hodgson, Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change, refused to say whether or not he expects New Zealand to have a net carbon credit surplus. Mr Hodgson had predicted a credit worth as much as $200 million.

Mr Connell says it looks very much like Labour made a major miscalculation with regard to the cost of implementing Kyoto.

"The plummeting rate of new forest plantations should have sounded alarm bells long ago."

New forest plantings have dropped from 40,400 hectares in 1999, to just 10,600 last year.

"This low planting rate combined with rising industrial activity and an increase in dairying has put New Zealand in a situation where we could face a carbon credit deficit in the first commitment period of Kyoto," says Mr Connell.

"Labour was relying on forest expansion to offset increasing carbon emissions. But if we're forced to buy carbon credits on the international market, we could be left with a bill running into the millions.

"National's policy of not moving to ratify the Kyoto Protocol ahead of our major trading partners is now shown to be the wisest course. Labour's solution could be catastrophic," says Mr Connell.

ENDS

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