Mapp Report : The Billion Dollar Bungle
24 June 2005
The Mapp Report
Kyoto: The Billion Dollar Bungle
This week the government admitted to a billion dollar bungle. The Labour government claimed in 2002 that New Zealand would gain an immediate surplus of carbon 'credits', due to the carbon sinks created by New Zealand forests.
What has now emerged is the Government got this horribly wrong. The truth is that New Zealand will be in "deficit" of carbon credits to the tune of at least $1.4 billion.
Committing billions of dollars to purchase carbon credits from overseas countries will not help to reduce carbon emissions in New Zealand. What is worse is that the Labour Government intends to pay these billions of dollars to countries such as Russia for carbon credit who have proven problems around corruption.
What we should be focusing on is improving our own environment. There are a number of steps we could take that would practically reduce carbon emissions and pollution.
1. Expand tree-planting projects. As well as providing carbon sinks, tree-planting will also help reduce the terrible flooding that is plaguing so many of our coastal communities. Tree planting desperately needs to be done on the East Coast of the North Island, and inland Wanganui where the highly eroded hillsides are leading to the terrible floods we have seen in recent years.
2. Improvements to the New Zealand Vehicle Fleet: Sensible rules could easily be made about Japanese imported cars. The Managing Director of Toyota notes that the importation of vehicles over seven years old means that we miss out on modern technology which would reduce vehicle emissions. It is a question of balancing access to cheap vehicles which still have a reasonable life span, and ensuring a fuel efficient vehicle fleet.
3. Have we fully considered the opportunities of hydro power? There are many sites for hydro stations that wouldn't cause significant environmental side effects. But they would provide hundreds of megawatts of electrical power, without greenhouse effects.
Both the Australian government and the United States government have deliver effective programs to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. In Australia these include Cities for Climate Protection, and the Greenhouse Challenge program which encourages member organisations to voluntarily reduce their greenhouse emissions.
The United States is developing new vehicle technologies and more efficient methods of electric power production. The Federal government also provides tax credits for new technologies and substantial scientific research in partnership with leading companies.
Incentivising technology to reduce greenhouse emissions would be more sensible path for New Zealand than buying carbon credits. The money required to improve the environment should be spent here, not sent overseas for no benefit to be had for the environment either here or anywhere else. That is the Labour plan. National will not waste our national resources in such a foolish way.
YOUNG PEOPLE WANT A LIFT IN THE DRINKING AGE
Since my previous Mapp Report on the drinking age (13.05.05), a new poll put out by the Dominion Post shows that 60% of 18-24 year-olds back raising the drinking age back to 20.
That has in part, reflected the views of the younger members of the National Party. They have said to me that my suggestion of keeping the drinking age at 18 for bars and licensed premises, but having 20 as the age for purchasing alcohol in off-licenses, is a most sensible compromise. One that young people would support.
After all, most of us recognise that the problem of under-age drinking is not in bars and licensed premises, where bar managers can keep a watchful eye on their patrons, and bouncers at a door will be checking identification. The problem is in 18-19 year olds buying alcohol for their underage friends, often 15 or under. The result of this has been an appalling catalogue of social ills and that is the problem to be addressed.
When Parliament lowered the drinking age in 1999, they did not properly consider the effect on liquor stores sales. The focus was on drinking in bars and restaurants. I was on the Select Committee that heard all the submissions. Members of the Select Committee simply did not give proper consideration to problems of sales from liquor stores leading to drinking by 14 to 17 year olds.
Parliament has a fresh opportunity to review the decisions of 1999. I will be looking forward to the public input so we can get the right answer to this vexed issue.
24 June 2005
Friday 24 - Sunday 26 June
National Party 69th Annual Conference, Duxton Hotel, Wakefield St, Wellington.
Monday, 27 June
Monthly Members Meeting in the North Shore Electorate Office. Guest speaker Patricia Schnauer. 10.00am.
Monday, 4 July
North Shore Electorate invites you to attend 'A Good Woman' at the Bridgeway Theatre in Northcote. 8.00pm start. For tickets please call the North Shore Electorate Office 09 486 0005 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, 20 July
Public Meeting on Defence with John Carter, National's Defence Spokesman. Rose Centre Auditorium, Belmont, Devonport. 7.30pm - 9.00pm.