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 Drone Strikes And Judith Collins‘ Last Stand

The news that a New Zealand citizen was killed last November in a US drone attack in Yemen brings the drones controversy closer to home.

To the US, drones are a legitimate response to the threat posed by the al Qaeda organisation and its franchisees... To the US, the drones carry the added advantage of not putting US troops at risk on the ground, and minimises the need for putting them in large numbers in bases in the countries concerned, always a politically sensitive point.

The counter-argument, well articulated by security analyst Paul Buchanan on RNZ this morning, is that this particular drone attack can be said to amount to an extra-judicial execution of a New Zealand citizen by one of our military allies, in circumstances where the person concerned posed no threat to New Zealand’s domestic security. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Policies: Labour’s Economic Upgrade For Manufacturing

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today announced his Economic Upgrade for the manufacturing sector – a plan that will create better jobs and higher wages. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. More>>

ALSO:

Bad Transnationals: Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award

It won the 2011 Roger Award and was runner up in 2012, 2009 and 08. One 2013 nomination said simply and in its entirety: “Blackmailing country”... More>>

ALSO:

Select Committees: Tobacco Plain Packaging Hearings

The Stroke Foundation is today backing the Cancer Society and Smokefree Coalition who are making oral submissions to the Health Select Committee in support of proposed legislation to remove of all branding from tobacco products. More>>

ALSO:

Milk: Oravida Asked For Cabinet Help

New evidence released by New Zealand First today reveals Justice Minister Judith Collins used her position to manipulate the Government to help her husband’s company, Oravida, after the Fonterra botulism scare, says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

ALSO:

With Conditions: Ruataniwha Consents Approved In Draft Decision

The Tukituki Catchment Proposal Board of Inquiry has granted 17 resource consents relating to the $265 million Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in a draft decision that would open more of the Hawke’s Bay to irrigation. More>>

ALSO:

Fast Lanes, Campervans: Labour 'Making The Holidays Easier For Kiwi Drivers'

The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Royalty And Its Tourism Spin-Offs

Ultimately the Queen’s longevity has been one of her most significant accomplishments. A transition to Prince Charles while the monarchy was in the pits of public esteem in the mid to late 1990s would have been disastrous for the Royal Firm. Far more congenial representatives have now emerged... More>>

ALSO:

Privacy (Again): ACC Demands Excessive Privacy Waivers

Labour: “This is just another example of ACC under National deliberately acting to deny treatment and compensation... Those who did fill in the form have effectively been victims of yet another ACC privacy breach. This time Judith Collins knew it was happening..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news