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Brash wants to axe the climate

1 December 2005

Brash wants to axe the climate

New Zealanders should look around at the environment and climate they live in before considering Don Brash's call to 'axe' the carbon tax, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"If you want to see more big trucks on the road and less use of rail, this is the campaign for you.

"If you want to turn people away from smaller cars and hybrids and encourage them into SUVs then you'll be right behind Dr Brash's campaign.

"If you want to see more coal burned and less wind power, less efficient energy use, less solar heating and less use of waste wood, join Dr Brash's campaign and make sure there is no economic advantage in being clean and green.

"If we are to move to clean energy in this country, reduce our climate change emissions and prepare for much more expensive and scarce oil, there has to be a financial incentive to adopt clean technologies. Otherwise we will go on importing gas-guzzling cars, burning coal and ignoring opportunities to improve energy efficiency.

"Clearly, National's 'Axe Carbon Tax' campaign is not aimed at improving life for ordinary New Zealanders, it is aimed at saving big business from having to pay the costs of their pollution. Kiwis should not be fooled.

"New Zealand is not, as Dr Brash claims, the only country to adopt a carbon tax. Norway, Sweden, Holland, the UK and Denmark all have taxes on energy or carbon aimed at reducing CO2 emissions. The EU as a whole has an emissions trading scheme.

"The Green Party would welcome a public debate on whether the carbon tax is the best way to make clean energy relatively cheaper than fossil fuels, but the only option on the table seems to be to remove any economic signal at all.

"What Dr Brash's announcement today tries to hide is that the carbon tax would not disappear into a black hole. It would reduce other taxes, for example on income or business. If the carbon tax is axed you will not pay less tax, you will just pay it on different things.

"The Greens have always proposed that a carbon tax should be used to remove tax off the first band of income for every taxpayer. That way, people who use energy more efficiently would be paying less tax overall and those who waste it would be paying more.

"Unfortunately the Labour-led Government has played into the hands of National by never making it clear where other taxes would be cut as a result of the carbon tax, and by not making sure that all New Zealanders will benefit from such a reduction in tax elsewhere. There is still time to remedy this," Ms Fitzsimons says.

ENDS

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