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Dunne demands full ETS household costs

Media statement
For immediate release
Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Dunne demands full ETS household costs

It is time the government told New Zealand households the full story about what the Emissions Trading Scheme will cost them, says UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne.

“The government continues to fudge the impact of the scheme on household budgets, basing its calculations on a carbon price per tonne that has long been passed in the international market.

“At the same time, it is becoming vaguer and vaguer about what compensation will be offered to households as a result of the increased costs the ETS will cause.

“The Prime Minister talks of compensation for ‘vulnerable’ households; the Minister for Climate Change speaks in one breath of compensating households for rising electricity costs only, and then in the next denies having ruled out wider compensation.

“The bottom line is that middle income households – yet again – will bear the lion’s share of the costs, with no compensation, other than the promised tax cuts from next week’s Budget, and they see them as a dividend for the good years we have been through, rather than a down payment on rising future costs, ” he says.

Mr Dunne says the government either has no idea what the ETS will really cost households, or is deliberately holding back critical information, because it will turn people against the ETS.

“Only this week the Meat Industry told the select committee that meat prices were likely to rise up to 180% because of the ETS, and there are constant reports of substantial price increases likely in other areas as well, which the government has failed to respond to,” he says.

Mr Dunne says UnitedFuture remains a supporter in principle of the concept of emissions trading (“I first spoke in support of this way back in 1990 when Associate Environment Minister”) but could not support the current legislation unless there was much fuller disclosure from the government in the next two weeks about the true costs for households and the overall compensation package to be provided.

“By some estimates, basic food prices have risen almost 30% in the last year, and with rising mortgage bills, increasing petrol costs regardless of the ETS, likely electricity shortages and a slowing economy putting pressure on jobs, many households already face an extremely uncertain and difficult future.

“A substantial lift in their household costs because of the ETS would be the last straw for many of them.

“It is not acceptable that the wellbeing of New Zealand households is being sacrificed for the government’s determination to be a world leader in the battle against climate change.

“The first responsibility of any New Zealand government is to put the interests of its citizens first, rather than bask in the adulation of the international hair-shirt brigade,” Mr Dunne says.


ENDS

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