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Greens intransigence risks entire climate strategy

Media statement
For immediate release
Friday, 6 June 2008

Dunne: Greens intransigence risks entire climate change strategy

New Zealand’s entire climate change strategy is at risk, according to UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne, and he is laying the blame directly at the feet of the Greens.

“There is absolutely no doubt that climate change is amongst the top issues confronting the world today – on that point we have absolutely no disagreement with the Greens.

“However, where we differ is on the best way to address the problem.

“The Greens have so far taken a hair-shirt approach which would not only see New Zealand following policies far ahead of the rest of the world, but would also see a significant drop in the living standards of New Zealand households.

“Moreover, their uncompromising stand makes it more difficult for the government to strike a workable deal on its emissions trading scheme,” he said.

Mr Dunne said that UnitedFuture’s concern about the cost impacts on households is based on two elements.

“First, we think it unreasonable that New Zealanders’ living costs should have to rise so steeply – now likely to be at least $30 a week if the international price of carbon continues to escalate.

“Second, any concerted government response to climate change will require public support to be sustainable and achievable, and not subject to political change every time the government changes.

“The blunt reality is New Zealanders will not accept any situation where their households are likely to bear the brunt of the costs for little immediate tangible benefit.

“There is an inevitable trade-off involved between what is desirable policy, and what is publicly acceptable.

“By failing to recognise that and compromise accordingly in the interests of an outcome that is certain and durable, the Greens – who say their votes are what will determine the outcome – are simply putting the whole policy response at risk.

“All that does is frighten off those of genuine concern who do not accept their extreme solutions.

Mr Dunne says the leadership the Greens are calling for on climate change will not come from their lecturing people about doom and gloom scenarios and proclaiming only their solution will work, but by working constructively and showing a willingness to compromise with the various political parties, income groups and sectors involved to get credible and durable solutions.

“UnitedFuture, by contrast, is willing to compromise to find the most robust solutions – no matter how long it takes,” said Mr Dunne.

ENDS

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