Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Proposed WTO rules could crash grid

5 December 2005

Proposed WTO rules could crash grid, increase oil imports

The next World Trade Organisation negotiation round will consider proposals that, if adopted, will accelerate climate change, deny consumer rights, strain New Zealand's electricity grid and raise Kiwis' energy costs, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

Trade ministers will meet in Hong Kong next week to consider hundreds of calls to remove standards and labelling requirements from consumer goods, many of which would have major effects on NZ consumers. The standards are claimed to be 'non-tariff trade barriers' and fall under the Non-Agricultural Market Access negotiations of the WTO.

"These moves would prevent governments and consumers from being energy efficient, at the very time that the planet needs us all to be reducing our energy use" Ms Fitzsimons says.

"For example, China, South Korea and Argentina want to outlaw energy efficiency standards and mandatory labelling for household appliances such as fridges, water heaters, fluorescent lights and air conditioners.

"New Zealand has minimum efficiency standards for all of these appliances to protect consumers from those that cause big power bills. We also require appliances to be labelled with their actual energy consumption so consumers can choose the most efficient. New Zealanders would lose this protection if the measures pass.

"Flooding the New Zealand market with cheap-to-buy but power-hungry air conditioners could black out Auckland on a hot summer day, so our security of supply would also be affected. More generating stations would be needed to supply the demand from inefficient appliances in households and businesses.

"Meanwhile the US is calling for vehicle taxes related to engine size to be outlawed. They complain they 'inhibit the sale of vehicles with larger engine sizes and provide competitive advantage to producers of vehicles with smaller engine sizes.'

"This is a truly bizarre proposal clearly aimed at forcing US gas guzzlers on to other countries.

"It would prevent measures to encourage a more efficient vehicle fleet, increase climate-changing emissions of carbon dioxide and increase our oil import bill and the cost of filling your tank at a time when prices are going through the roof. The Greens' proposal, endorsed by the Business Council for Sustainable Development, for a feebate system of higher registration charges for inefficient vehicles that enter the country from now on and lower costs for efficient cars would be illegal under this proposal.

"The Greens will be challenging the Government to speak out strongly against this lunacy. There are some proposals to remove unnecessarily complex regulations on products that we should support. But New Zealand negotiators must take a careful approach to distinguishing valid claims from those that will destroy the environment and make us poorer," Ms Fitzsimons says.

The relevant documents can be found on the WTO website - www.wto.org - under the codes TN/MA/W/25 and TN/MA/W/46.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>


Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>


Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>


Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>


With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>


Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news