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

Gordon Campbell: On The Budget

It may seem like Oliver to be so bold as to ask the Finance Minister for more gruel – but what the Dickens, Steven Joyce… is this Budget really as good as it gets?

Supposedly, the public was going to receive significant rewards – an election year lolly scramble no less – for the eight years of belt tightening that they’ve endured, and for the rundown of essential public services.

Well, what Budget 2017 delivered instead in Education and in Health were allocations barely sufficient to maintain the current levels of service delivery More>>

Scoop Full Coverage: of Budget Announcements & Reaction
Latest: Scoop Search

 
 

Auditor-General Stands Down For Investigation: Gordon Campbell On (Not) Taking Responsibility

So Martin Matthews, our current Auditor-General wishes he could have detected “earlier” the fraud that occurred on his watch at the Ministry of Transport. Hmmm. But he could have detected it earlier, surely? That’s the point. More>>

ALSO:

NGOs Pleased: Govt To Halt Collection Of Client Data

Brenda Pilott, the chair of ComVoices and national manager of Social Service Providers Aotearoa, congratulates the government on its decision to call a halt to the collection of individual client data until the concerns of not-for-profit service providers have been worked through. More>>

ALSO:

Gosh: Blasphemy Law Repeal Struck Down

Chris Hipkins, the MP who tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to add our Blasphemy Law to the Statutes Repeal Bill, said this was a "sad day for freedom of speech, tolerance, and leadership". More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Navy’s Dealings With Fat Leonard, And Twin Peaks

At an official level, our “she’ll be right” attitude routinely spills over into a keen resentment of anyone who suggests the outcomes may be less than satisfactory… The Navy has now gone one step beyond. It won’t even ask itself whether it did a good job. More>>

ALSO:

NZDF: Fifth Rotation Of Troops Heads To Iraq

The fifth rotation of New Zealand Defence Force troops left today for a six-month mission training Iraqi soldiers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Demonising Of Iran

Will New Zealand still be willing to pursue its recent trade overtures to Iran, now that US President Donald Trump has used his speech in Riyadh to single out Iran as the main source of terrorism and instability in the Middle East? More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 

Opening The Election Supporters

 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog