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National offers only weak excuses on ETS

Hon David Parker
Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues

16 June 2008

National offers only weak excuses on emissions trading

The National Party has offered only a poor list of excuses on why it continues to oppose action on climate change through an emissions trading scheme, Climate Change Minister David Parker says.

“Nick Smith has already said publicly that even if all of National’s so-called six principles were satisfied, they would continue to oppose the bill, and this proves it,” the Minister said.

“The points National raises in its minority report on the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) bill are just excuses for inaction.

“For example, National says it’s opposed to the government making windfall gains from the scheme, even though there is no significant net revenue likely to accrue to the government before 2020.

“National says companies like Holcim Cement should be able to expand their operations. This kind of scenario is now provided for under changes made to the bill to allow for intensity-based allocation within the overall cap for emissions, or an allocation for new entrants within that cap. The prior prohibition on free allocations to those who are not current emitters has been removed for the bill.

“National implies that emitters of less than 50,000 tonnes per annum won’t be eligible for free allocation, even though that point too has been covered by the select committee. The legislation does not impose a 50,000 tonne threshold. This too is just an excuse for inaction by National.

“The list goes on. None of National’s concerns are insurmountable, and could have been addressed if they were ready to engage, which they are not. They will not vote for the legislation in any form, and their pretence to the contrary has been exposed for what it is.

“At least the public now has a clear idea about which major party takes environmental issues seriously, and which one wants to play petty politics.

“Labour is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting our international obligations under Kyoto, and an emissions trading scheme offers the least cost and most flexible way of doing this.”

ENDS

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