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Govt gives up on the climate

21 December 2005

Govt gives up on the climate

The Government has given up on its goal of reducing New Zealand's carbon emissions and abandoned any sense of leadership on the climate change issue, Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

The Government has today announced it is scrapping the carbon tax previously planned for 2007 in favour of a vague commitment to explore other options for meeting New Zealand's Kyoto Protocol obligations. For the sake of a possible 0.2 percent decrease in GDP in 2012, it is throwing away an estimated 13 million tonnes in carbon reductions.

"The Greens are now the only party prepared to stand up to the vested interests who want to continue to fiddle while the planet burns," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"What is clear is that the Government views the rise in New Zealand's carbon emissions as inevitable and that they are only going to try and slow the trend, rather than reversing it.

"A small country like ours can only contribute in a meaningful way on issues like climate change by showing moral leadership. The Government's stance assumes other countries will take action and produce enough carbon credits that we can buy them at a cheap price. But if every nation took New Zealand's 'someone-else-will-fix-it' attitude, carbon credits will be outrageously expensive and the human race and the planet will be in serious trouble. "This second capitulation to the anti-Kyoto lobby - after the debacle of the so-called 'fart tax' - will send the message that well-funded misinformation campaigns by vested interests will succeed. They are putting the corporate pursuit of short-term profits ahead of the planet's and our grandchildren's future.

"When judged by international stance and domestic policies actually in place, there is now little difference between Labour and National.

"The carbon tax proposal has been clearly signalled and well developed over ten years. The new work programme won't even be agreed to until next March.

"It is therefore unlikely that anything meaningful will happen before the Kyoto implementation period starts on 1 January 2008, or even before the 2008 election. After ten years of doing nothing, now we're facing three more years of nothing. The later you start, the higher the emissions will be and the deeper the eventual cuts that will be needed.

"Michael Cullen now has to explain where the lost revenue is going to come from. Which services are going to be cut or which other tax is going to increase to make up for the $360 million that has just disappeared from the books?"


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