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Dunne seeks rational debate on ETS

Media statement
For immediate release
Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Dunne seeks rational debate on ETS

As the flood of conflicting reports on the likely financial effects of an emissions trading scheme turns into a tsunami, UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne says New Zealand urgently needs an intelligent, and intelligible, debate on the ETS.

“As the Labour-led Government drives relentlessly towards its goal of making New Zealand the world’s first carbon-neutral country, it seems to me that the possible disastrous effects on the average New Zealand household budget are being lost in the rush,” he says.

“Although accurate numbers are extremely difficult to come by, there seems to be general agreement that the average household budget will come under serious pressure as the effects are felt of potential job losses; price increases in food, transport and energy; and a general economic downturn.

“What,” he asks “will be the point of tax cuts that are more than swallowed up by the costs of an ETS?

“New Zealanders have generally supported the idea of taking strong action to curb the impacts of climate change, but that support will quickly vanish once households realise the immediate increased costs they will have to bear will far outweigh the long-term projected gains.

“International approval of our purist ETS will be cold comfort to ordinary Kiwis who are struggling, or failing, to pay their way.

“Worse still, it could lead to a strong backlash if people feel the costs of an ETS and a comprehensive climate change policy are far greater than the benefits, and the government proves unable to offer adequate ongoing compensation for the rising cost of living here.

“The Government must put all the facts on the table now; it must acknowledge that there are perfectly valid views that differ from the Government’s; and all New Zealand must have the chance the take part in making a decision that, if we get it wrong, will set us back socially and economically for decades,” said Mr Dunne.


ENDS

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