Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Government dropping carbon tax labelled pathetic

21 December 2005
Media Statement
For immediate use

Government dropping carbon tax labelled pathetic

The Environmental Defence Society (EDS) has called the government's announcement that it is dropping the carbon tax "pathetic."

EDS Chairman Gary Taylor says in his opinion Ministers and the Climate Change Office have been captured by advocates for energy intensive business such as the Greenhouse Policy Coalition (GPC) which have a vested interest in getting the tax dropped.

"There has been no public consultation around this fundamental change although we understand that the GPC has been working hard behind the scenes to get the tax dropped. It is a u-turn that has no moral authority or legitimacy because it was subject to a secret process that deliberately excluded the public.

"This is in stark contrast to the highly consultative process during 2002 that led to the tax being proposed as a key plank in our domestic policy response to the greenhouse challenge.

"The tax was an essential part of New Zealand's domestic response to its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. We simply have to put a price on carbon. Without a carbon charge investors will have no pricing signals when it comes to investment in carbon-based projects. The only alternative to a carbon charge is full-blown emissions trading but that's off the agenda as well," said Mr Taylor.

"New Zealand's emissions are over 22% above the level they were in 1990. We have a commitment under the United Nations Convention to get back to that level. But now the policy cupboard is bare and the government has simply failed on climate change.

"Announcing this just before Christmas is an attempt to hide from the world. New Zealand has been a leader on climate change and now its moral authority has been undermined.

"I think the Climate Change Office and Treasury should have another go designing the tax. It was always intended to be fiscally neutral. That meant that there should have been a commensurate reduction in company and personal tax rates so that overall burden of taxation did not increase. Instead there were complicated proposals around depreciation rates and other recycling concepts none of which clearly showed fiscal neutrality.

"If the design flaws were fixed and it was clearly a replacement tax rather than an additional one, it could still secure support in parliament. It could even have marshalled support from the business sector and the wider public. It makes clear sense to tax pollution rather than income.

"The implications of this change in direction are considerable.

"For example, the RMA was amended to preclude carbon emissions from being considered because it was argued that the carbon tax would set the correct price signals at a national level. In the absence of the tax the government must change the Resource Management Act back to its original provisions so that the effect of carbon emissions can be considered in resource consenting processes.

"With respect to the Huntly power station, dropping the tax means that under an agreement between Genesis Energy and EDS, emissions there are now capped which means the old plant cannot run at full throttle. This will have adverse implications for both power prices and availability. No consideration appears to have been given to this matter.

"Climate Change is the biggest environmental problem facing the planet. Dropping the tax raises serious questions about New Zealand's commitment to playing its part in the global effort to reduce emissions.

"The measures proposed to replace the tax are soft options merely there for investigation and will do little to help us onto a downward trajectory in our greenhouse gas emissions.

"This is a very disappointing day for the environment and seriously undermines confidence in the government's environmental commitment.

"It is also a bad day for open government because of the highly secret nature of the review" Mr Taylor concluded.

Ends


Gary Taylor is the Chairman of the Environmental Defence Society ( www.eds.org.nz) and convenor of the 2nd Australia-New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference ( www.climateandbusiness.com) to be held in Adelaide, South Australia 20-21 February 2006

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Parliament Today:

The Kids: OECD Report Shows Huge Impact Of Poverty On Education

A new report from the OECD has again highlighted the negative effects of poverty, showing that disadvantaged children in New Zealand are more than six times more likely to underachieve in maths than children from wealthier homes. More>>

ALSO:

Pacific: NZ Pledges $500,000 To Help Address Zika

“With the Zika virus now confirmed in a number of Pacific countries, New Zealand is committed to helping limit the impact and spread of the virus in the region,” says Mr McCully. “New Zealand will provide $250,000 as a contribution to the WHO to implement the Pacific Zika Action Plan, and a further $250,000 to enable countries in the region to respond rapidly if required." More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Police Commissioner 'Doesn’t Get Force Needs'

The Police Commissioner has let down the public and his own force by insisting the police have what they need despite it taking a year to solve a burglary and overwhelming number of officers saying they are under-resourced, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Pressure To Expand Our Role In Iraq

Foreign news services are being more forthcoming about what the “next 12 months” will entail – essentially, the defence ministers will be under US pressure to increase their “training” role preparatory to an assault on the city of Mosul in northern Iraq. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Restarts: Prime Minister’s Statement

Our policy agenda and legislative programme will reflect the Government’s four priorities: • to responsibly manage the Government’s finances • to build a more competitive and productive economy • to deliver better public services to New Zealanders, an • to support the rebuilding of Christchurch. More>>

ALSO:

NZEI Survey Report: Special Needs Students Missing Out

The survey revealed that around 16 percent of students were on schools’ special needs registers, but nearly 90 percent of schools’ special needs coordinators did not believe there was adequate support for students and their learning... More>>

ALSO:

Interim Report: Waitangi Tribunal On Ture Whenua Legislation

Labour on Proposed changes to Maori land rules: “To have Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson dismiss findings as ‘bizarre’ is totally disingenuous and disrespectful. What’s bizarre is Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell stubbornly pushing through this Bill before the Waitangi Tribunal has even completed its report..." More>>

ALSO:

Spy Update: Appointment Of GCSB Acting Director

GCSB Chief Legal Advisor Lisa Fong will become the Acting Director of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) from 15 February 2016, Minister Responsible for the GCSB Christopher Finlayson announced today. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news