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National and Dunne misguided on carbon charge

National and Dunne misguided on carbon charge campaign

Auckland, Thursday 1 December 2005:

Greenpeace today condemned National's new campaign to abolish the carbon charge, and Peter Dunne's support for the move and urged National to get their facts straight.

"Both National and United Future have declared war on common sense today in their plans to stop the carbon charge. They have completely ignored the costs that all New Zealanders will have to bear from climate change with increased droughts, floods, sea level rise and new pests and diseases" said Greenpeace climate campaigner Vanessa Atkinson.

"Proposing to axe the carbon charge is a step backwards when the world's climate scientists say that we urgently need deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of 60-80% by the middle of this century if we are to avoid catastrophic levels of climate change."

"The carbon tax is a small but important first step as part of a responsible response to the biggest threat the world faces – climate change. Yet National and Unite Future are prepared to gamble with every New Zealander's future by proposing to ditch the tax."

Further, National has not even got its facts straight on the carbon charge. They have falsely claimed that no other country has a carbon charge. Several European countries already have a carbon charge including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. There's already an international price on carbon, forced by climate change.

Questions have to be raised about the impartiality of the Revenue Minister, Peter Dunne, in welcoming National's anti-carbon charge campaign, pre-empting the outcome of a so-called "independent" analysis of the carbon charge which his party secured after the election.

Further, the International Energy Agency criticised Australia earlier this year for not putting a price on carbon, as the proposed carbon charge here in New Zealand would do. Do National and Dunne want to open New Zealand up to similar attacks from the international leaders on energy policy?

The carbon charge is a sensible policy which starts to redirect our taxes to pollution like carbon dioxide, and away from income and other taxes. It will start to send vitally needed economic signals that disincentivise carbon polluting practices, like coal-fired powers stations and encourage clean technologies like wind energy and energy efficiency and conservation.

But National and Dunne want to stand in the way of real action on climate change that would also encourage economic development based on clean, non-greenhouse gas polluting development.

The international insurance industry warns that global warming will cost the world $NZ450 billion every year by 2010. And New Zealand is not immune. The winter of 2005 was one of the warmest and driest on record. Last year's floods caused $400 million damage and the droughts of the late 1990's cost $618 million. New Zealand will need to brace itself for more of the same.

The scientific community and governments around the globe agree; climate change is happening now, it is caused by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas for energy and we need deep cuts in our greenhouse emissions if we are to avoid climate disaster.

ENDS

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