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Key’s climate fund a missed opportunity

Charles Chauvel
Climate Change Spokesperson

17 December 2009 Media Statement
Key’s climate fund a missed opportunity

National’s announcement today of US, Canadian and NZ financial contributions to a Global Agriculture Fund is a huge missed opportunity for NZ Inc, Labour’s climate change spokesperson Charles Chauvel said.

Mr Chauvel, speaking from Copenhagen, said the fund was a pale comparison the last Labour-led Government's Fast Forward Fund.

"The Fast Forward Fund, announced in March last year, saw the New Zealand Government commit $700 million to be used in a new research, development and innovation fund. A key purpose of the Fund was to create new technologies to reduce agricultural emissions,” Charles Chauvel said.

“Including earnings from interest, this contribution was calculated to be up to $1 billion over the 10-15 year term of the Fund. Matched with funding from our pastoral and food sector industries this would have resulted in a $2 billion investment in primary production-based intellectual property, owned by Kiwis.

“That IP would very likely have allowed us to perfect emissions reduction technology to the benefit of our own emissions profile and the enhancement of our international reputation. It would also have allowed us to exploit the technology commercially on the international market, at potentially significant profit, as well as giving aid in terms of technology transfer to food-producing developing countries.

“National scrapped the Fund along with tax credits for research and development after coming into office. The alternative, announced today – $US90M ($NZ125M) from the US, $NZ45M from New Zealand and a Canadian contribution – pales by comparison.

“The multinational nature of the Global Agriculture Fund will inevitably mean that New Zealand won't own the results of any research paid for by it.

"So, as well as there being substantially less money for investment in the reduction of emissions from agriculture, New Zealand will be poorer because we lose the opportunity to sell or share emissions reduction technology in our singular area of expertise on our own terms.

"Despite the self-generated fanfare and bright lights, National’s approach represents a failure. It totally lacks ambition and is a huge missed opportunity for New Zealand,” Charles Chauvel said.


ENDS

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