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NZBCSD Supports Proposed Climate Change Policy

NZBCSD Supports Government’s Proposed Climate Change Policy

Wednesday 1 May 2002

The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) has broadly supported the Government’s preferred Climate Change Policy package that was released on Tuesday.

The NZBCSD is a coalition of 35 leading businesses united by a shared commitment to sustainable development. The members represent a variety of sectors and include Meridian Energy, Natural Gas Corporation, TrustPower, Waste Management, Fonterra, Richmond Meats, Shell, BP, Milburn Cement, Urgent Couriers, Watercare Services, The Warehouse, Landcare Research and Sanford.

Stephen TIndall, Chairman of the NZBCSD made the following comments on the proposed package.

“The principles behind the package provide for sound transitional measures; the liabilities for most emitters are capped and “competitiveness at risk” industries appear to have been provided for. We do however encourage the government to move towards more transparent and market based mechanisms once international trading in emissions and credits is well established with reasonably stable prices and NZ businesses have had time to adjust.

The devil is likely to be in the detail, it is important that the proposed initiatives such as support for emissions reduction projects be implemented in a workable and cost efficient manner.

Around 60% of NZ’s emissions come from methane and nitrous oxide. In some respects the NZ economy is a large farm and we cannot afford to damage the agricultural sector. The Government’s proposed package will help to shield agricultural methane and nitrous oxide emitters in the first Kyoto commitment period (2008-2012).

The agricultural sector will however be expected to invest around $15 million pa in emissions reduction research if they are to avoid a levy that would raise the same annual amount. This number is not yet finalised and it is important that it is finalised as soon as possible (the Government are currently consulting on this). This will give the agricultural sector the same level of certainty that has been provided to CO2 emitters.

The NZBCSD broadly supports the proposed policy package for the lead up to the first Kyoto commitment period and for the commitment period itself.

We believe that New Zealand should retain the ability to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol before the second commitment period (2013-2017) if necessary. By that time we will be in a better position to assess the impacts of the second commitment period targets on New Zealand business. Research should have established whether we are able to cost effectively reduce our agricultural emissions, and the emissions reduction requirements for developing countries will be known – many of these countries are New Zealand’s trade competitors and it is important that we are all on a level playing field as early as possible.”

Ends

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