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National seeks consult on climate change policy

Hon Nick Smith
National Party Environment Spokesman

26 December 2005

National asks to be consulted on climate change policy

National’s Environment spokesman, Nick Smith, has written to the Minister Responsible for Climate Change requesting that the Government consult National before committing to any new climate change policy.

“Climate change is a very long-term issue that will transcend the life of any government. It is also very important for New Zealand that investors in many parts of the economy have some certainty about emissions and climate change policy

”Any bipartisan approach for policy development on climate change would need to amount to more than some consultation at the end of the Cabinet process,” says Dr Smith. “It needs to recognise that National has 48 seats in the new Parliament compared with Labour’s 50.

“The Government’s U-turn on the carbon tax and its wide-ranging review of its climate change policy provides a unique opportunity to take a bipartisan approach.

“There are real advantages for the Government and for New Zealand if the two main parties can agree on the key elements of New Zealand’s policy.

“National does take the issue of climate change seriously. We want an approach that will see New Zealand taking a constructive path internationally and one that will not put our economy at risk relative to our competitors,” says Dr Smith.

Attachment: Dr Smith's letter to the Minister Responsible for Climate Change

22 December 2005

Hon David Parker
Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues
Rm 7.06
Bowen House


Dear Minister

National has noted with interest the decision by Labour to drop its proposal for a carbon tax and undertake a wide ranging review of its approach to climate change. This presents a unique opportunity to consider developing a bipartisan approach to the issue of climate change.

I am sure you would acknowledge that climate change is a very long-term issue that will transcend the life of any Government. It is also very important for New Zealand that investors in many parts of the economy have some certainty about emissions and climate change policy. There are real advantages in considering a joint approach on this huge issue.

Any bipartisan approach for policy development on climate change would need to amount to more than some consultation at the end of the Cabinet process. It needs to recognise that National has 48 seats in the new Parliament as compared to Labour’s 50. We would need to have input into the terms of reference for official advice, a formal process for input into policy development and a joint role in public announcements. We would also be seeking to participate alongside the Government in international negotiations.

National does take the issue of climate change seriously. We want an approach that will see New Zealand taking a constructive path internationally and one that will not put our economy at risk relative to our competitors.

There can be real advantages for Government in developing a bipartisan approach to difficult long-term issues like climate change. I would be happy to meet with you and your colleagues in the New Year to explore how this might be able to be achieved.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Smith
MP Nelson

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