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Taxpayers to subsidise polluters more and longer

ENVIRONMENT AND CONSERVATION ORGANISATIONS of NZ Inc.
Level 2, 126 Vivian St, Wellington, New Zealand
PO Box 11-057, Wellington

Email: eco@reddfish.co.nz Website: www.eco.org.nz


Wellington – Tuesday 6 May 2008

Households and taxpayers to subsidise big polluters more and longer

Households and taxpayers will have to subsidise SUV drivers, dairy farmers, and industry polluters for much longer with the changes to the emissions trading system announced today by the Prime Minister says Cath Wallace from ECO.

The Prime Minister’s announcement today says that the subsidy to polluters will go on at full rates to 2018, instead of starting to reduce in 2013, and also that the term of the huge subsidies will go on to 2030, rather than 2025. The liquid fuels sector will also not have to pay for its emissions until 2011, instead of entering the emissions trading scheme in 2009.

“The policy announced was couched in terms of helping households, but actually is about making households and taxpayers pay for the emissions liability of industry and dairy farming for much longer,” says ECO spokesperson, Cath Wallace “The burden will be heavier.”

“It is picking the pockets of the poor and taxpayers to subsidise polluting industry.”

“The changes mean that polluters will lose incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, so more emissions can be expected than if the polluters had to pay. That will make the tax payer subsidy to farming and industry heavier.”

Cath Wallace said ECO supports the introduction of a comprehensive Emission Trading Scheme and is due to give its submissions on the Bill to the Select Committee next week.

“The Cabinet seems to turn to jelly and to give in to the big polluters every time they are about to implement policy to control climate change. The latest cave-in is disgraceful, particularly because it raids the pockets of the poor to subsidise the rich.

ECO has asked Climate Minister David Parker’s office for the figures behind the fuel consumption and transport emissions changes that the Prime Minister cited. “We were told that the figures are provisional and unconfirmed and cannot be released: yet the Prime Minister cites the changes as the rationale for delaying transport’s entry into the Emissions Trading Scheme.”

“The Government needs to urgently release the figures on which the policy change is based. The withheld figures involve a 50 percent change in New Zealand’s Kyoto emission obligations in just one month.”

“Does this mean that we have policy reversals on the basis of figures that are not confirmed, or is someone playing games by not releasing figures that are known?”

ENDS

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