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Minor tinkering prevents National support for ETS

Minor tinkering prevents National support for ETS

Revelations in this morning’s New Zealand Herald that National’s only plans for the Emissions Trading Scheme are to tinker around the edges provide further evidence that the scheme is sound, Climate Change Minister David Parker said.

“We’ve heard a lot of bluster from National about how they can’t possibly support the scheme, but when it comes to discussing the detail, it’s clear that the only changes they would like to implement are some very mild tinkering.”

National’s Environment spokesman Nick Smith told the Herald his party favoured an offset scheme to allow foresters to cut down forests in one area and re-plant in another without penalty.

“The NZ ETS we have designed already permits this, so long as the international climate change agreements also allow for it,” David Parker said.  “New Zealand negotiators are advocating for such a change, but until it eventuates, an offset scheme would simply create millions of dollars of cost for the taxpayer, as the country remains liable for deforestation that occurs over and above historic levels.”

The only other suggestions Dr Smith had for the scheme were to increase allocation for the fishing industry, allow smaller businesses to opt into the scheme, and to set a more ‘flexible’ timeframe for allocation phase out, David Parker said.

“Nick Smith is simply wrong to claim the bill has a 50,000 tonne threshold for businesses, and he knows it.  

“On the time frame for phase out, the scheme already has flexibility built in, by means of the regular five-yearly reviews of the allocation timeframe,” David Parker said.

“This report exposes just how pathetic National’s opposition to this legislation has been.  They just can’t think of any real reasons to oppose it.

“On the other hand, it’s possible that National is too afraid to reveal its real intentions for climate change policy, for fear the public will turn against it.

“The difference between Labour and National that is clear to everyone is that Labour has a track record on climate change you can trust, whereas National has a track record of denial, obstruction, and delay.”


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