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Skilling back on track

5 March 2008

Skilling back on track

The Green Party has endorsed the main conclusions of the discussion paper Actions speak louder than words released today by the New Zealand Institute.

"This is much more positive than their previous paper urging New Zealand not to lead but to be a fast follower," Green Party Climate Change Spokesperson Jeanette Fitzsimons.

"In particular we applaud the statement that: 'New Zealand should slow down the rhetoric and speed up in terms of the hard work of reducing New Zealand's emissions. Actions that reduce New Zealand's emissions in a meaningful way speak louder than words."

While the Government has announced bold aims to be carbon neutral and sustainable, the reality is they are building more motorways for more cars, allowing a state owned company to increase its coal mining, and doing nothing to stop the conversion of more land to dairying.

"If we want to reduce our emissions what we don't need is more coal, more cars and more cows," Ms Fitzsimons says.

The paper makes two main points that are strongly supported by the Green Party:

* The Emissions Trading Scheme will not result in much reduction of carbon emissions within the New Zealand economy because it allows all obligations to be met by purchasing credits from overseas.

* Both price incentives (the ETS) and non-price measures (codes and standards) are needed to be effective.

"The Greens are concerned that many of the credits available for purchase overseas are poorly verified if not downright fraudulent, and so do not result in real carbon reduction. We also agree with Skilling and Boven that New Zealand's competitive advantage in the future will depend on adjusting to operating in a low emissions world, and that purchasing all our credits from overseas will leave our economy very inefficient and exposed to the more stringent standards that are likely after 2012.

"As Greenpeace also argues in their report released yesterday, we need domestic reductions as well.

"In their second point they are calling for tougher energy efficiency standards. Yet many of the measures announced in the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy are still not fully funded. Indirectly, this report makes the case for full funding of the NZEECS," Ms Fitzsimons says.


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