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Delay won't help consumers or the climate

Delaying the inevitable won't help consumers or the climate

Auckland May 5 2008 – Delaying the transport component of the emissions trading scheme won't help householders, but it will help trucking and oil companies, says Greenpeace.

And it will be yet another example of the government backtracking on crucial climate change action.

Greenpeace is responding to news the Government intends to delay the introduction of the transport sector into the emissions trading scheme until 2011 and also delay the implementation of regional fuel taxes.

"Householders will pay for emissions through taxation to cover our Kyoto overshoot, trucking companies will be subsidised and petrol companies will make more profits from greater sales," says Greenpeace Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid. "How this benefits either consumers or the climate is beyond me.

"As well, discouraging investment in public transport by delaying the regional fuel tax will just make the situation worse as it will deprive many people, especially in Auckland, of the opportunity to avoid paying for increased petrol costs by using public transport. Petrol prices will rise no matter what the Government does."

Ms McDiarmid said Greenpeace recognised that the way the ETS is currently drafted disadvantages ordinary New Zealanders. "But this isn't because of the scheme per se, it's because the Government is proposing to give away too many free credits to big business and industry.

"The solution is simple – auction the credits instead, so that the money made can enable the Government to invest in households and public transport, where the support and investment is really needed.

"All those worrying about the unfair burden placed on householders should back Greenpeace's call for greater auctioning of pollution credits.

"The Government had delayed and dithered enough in its response to climate change over the years. They must hold firm on this policy, which is crucial and overdue, and not cave in to industry and business pressure.

"Delaying parts of the scheme is simply delaying the inevitable, which given the circumstances, is irresponsible. Anyone who thinks delaying the emissions trading scheme, or parts of it, will reduce the long-term costs of climate change is mad.

"The ETS needs adjustment to make it fairer. But the last thing we should be doing is delaying it, or parts of it."

Greenpeace makes its submission to the Select Committee on the legislation on Wednesday.

ENDS

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