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Gutless National risk billions

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education

Progressive Leader

19 May 2008 Media Statement

Gutless National risk billions

National’s gutless decision not to support emissions trading legislation is a cop-out by a weak leader who lacks vision for New Zealand or any understanding of the long term economic challenges we face, Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton said today.

“National’s decision is a failure of leadership. Just because an issue is hard is no excuse to cut and run. National’s decision would cost New Zealand taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars if it succeeded in blocking the emissions trading law.

“National thinks delaying emissions trading is a soft, easy option. It is wrong. Someone has to pay for our emissions. If it isn’t emitters, it has to be the taxpayer. If taxpayers pay, the money has to come from higher taxes or from cuts to hospitals and schools. National’s gutless wonders put the costs on taxpayers because they are too weak to do the right thing.

“National’s weakness puts our agricultural exports at risk. New Zealand is already behind Europe on emissions trading. Australia will have their scheme running by 2010 and the majority of US states already have emissions trading schemes being rolled out. This is the way the world is going and we risk falling behind. It is not a matter of being too far in front. Every delay adds further cost to New Zealand further down the line.

“If our agricultural exports come to be seen as dirty, we will face higher barriers than we have ever faced before. If the world doesn’t address global warming we will be more exposed than any other developed country, because more of our economy is dependent on climate. If we want the world to act, we have to do our bit.

“Further delays mean further uncertainty for business. Landowners planning to plant new forests this winter will be likely to hold off due to the uncertainty created by John Key. Major forestry investments, that are good for the economy and good for planet, were being considered right now and are now at risk.

“John Key’s latest position reflects the chaos within the National Party Caucus on climate change. Nick Smith has spent most of the last year hysterically criticising the Government for not moving sooner on climate policy, while Lockwood Smith and Maurice Williamson have been telling audiences they don’t believe in climate change at all.

“John Key desperately wants to avoid a vote on the issue because it will flush out National's climate change deniers. Clearly the National Party wants more time in order to fudge their position prior to the election.

“Despite National’s weakness, I am still waiting for a single reporter to ask John Key one simple question: If emitters don’t pay, who does National think will? John Key gets away with weakness because he never gets asked tough questions.”


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