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Govt breaks word while kiwi families struggle to break even

13 July 2012

Government breaks word while kiwi families struggle to break even

The Government’s got cash to cover its broken election promise on the Emissions Trading Scheme while kiwis lose their jobs and face higher prices, say the Green Party.

Cabinet papers released this week show the Government broke an election promise that changes to the ETS would not increase costs.

The papers show that there is an $82 million annual cost created by the changes – close to the entire increase in the education budget, which along with health were the only areas to get increases in the budget.

“How can the Government say the $328 million extra cost over four years has no impact when it’s more than education’s much trumpeted entire increase of $311 million for next year?” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

Finances are so tight that the Government is hiking costs for households, such as the recent increase in prescription fees, yet is trying to downplay this significant new cost as it subsidises polluters.

“Government workers are being laid off as departments struggle to live within constrained budgets, the deficit is at an historic high but the Government is happy to dump $80 million down the drain to protect polluters.

“Not only does this show the Government’s warped priorities but it is a direct breach of an election promise.”

In its election Environment and Climate Change policy National clearly stated that its changes to the ETS would not add costs: “We intend to slow the phasing in of the ETS. We recognise the Government's finances are under pressure and our changes to the ETS will be fiscally neutral.”

“$80 million a year is not fiscally neutral,” said Dr Norman.

“The Government tried to hide this failure by omitting figures from earlier consultation documents and previous Cabinet paper.

“It announced its changes last week but did not release the latest Cabinet paper until yesterday which it did not publicise.

“The Government was hoping no one would notice the paper which spells out in black and white the cost of their changes.”

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