CTU MEDIA RELEASE
02 September 2008
ETS bill a good compromise - CTU
The CTU welcomes the progress being made in Parliament on the emissions trading scheme.
Peter Conway, CTU Economist said today that unions have been focused on a range of issues including adequate protection for industry and jobs, transitional support for those affected, assistance and compensation for those on low incomes, the involvement of workers in energy efficiency programmes and developing the right set of skills for workers in a more sustainable economy.
“In addition, the CTU has argued that climate change policy should be broad-based and not rely too substantially on market-based mechanisms such as emissions trading. Community and work-based education campaigns and other energy conservation measures as well as adequate, stringently enforced regulations are needed to work alongside emissions trading.”
“The CTU also recognises that although New Zealand can do little on its own about global emissions, we should ‘do our bit’ and also note that our export trade could be adversely affected if we are seen by the rest of the world to be slow to take action on reduction of emissions.”
The compromise worked out between the Government and other parties in Parliament incorporates major issues of concern to unions, Peter Conway said. “This includes the one-off electricity rebate to all households in 2010, the one-off cash payment to families who are in receipt of benefits, superannuation and Working for Families tax credits in 2010, the $1 billion dollar energy efficiency fund, and the contestable innovation fund of 150,000 units a year.”
“The National Party in Government signed up to the Kyoto Protocol in 1998. Ten years down the track it is time for New Zealand to make a decent start on action. This Bill is not perfect and there will continue to be debate about climate change – but the risks of not taking concrete steps outweigh any disadvantages,” Peter Conway said.