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John Key Faces Risk of Rudd-Slinging

The New Zealand
Climate Science Coalition


John Key Faces Risk of Rudd-Slinging

Unless he intervenes to defer implementation of the forthcoming emissions trading scheme (ETS), Prime Minister John Key runs the risk of the same level of sudden electoral backlash that now threatens the re-election prospects of Kevin Rudd’s Labor government in Australia. This today from the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, commenting on the description by two Victoria University researchers that New Zealand’s current ETS is “technically obsolete” and “beyond rescue.”

“One of the authors, Simon Terry, is known to be a believer in man-made global warming, and when one such as he is reported as saying that the ETS will not make any inroads into cutting New Zealand’s gross emissions levels, the rest of us are entitled to ask why are we persisting with it?” said Coalition secretary, Terry Dunleavy.

“Government Ministers can’t even agree on what the immediate cost on taxpayers will be: Climate Change Minister Nick Smith says $1.6 billion, Science Minister Wayne Mapp says $1.75 billion, as though a difference of $175 million is neither here nor there. Agriculture Minister David Carter quotes one set of costs on farmers, while farming organisations quote much higher figures. There are no estimates of the flow-on costs that consumers will face on goods and services on top of the higher prices they will have to pay for fuels and electricity, in advance of the 1 October increase in GST. And there is yet no clarification of which businesses will be favoured with free credits or how many?

“Three principal figures, the Prime Minister, his Chief Science Adviser Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, and Climate Change Minister Smith all have agreed publicly that the ETS will have little or no effect on emissions levels or climate change, and we are basically going ahead to show the world we are doing our ‘fair share’. That misplaced symbolism is a sad and sick joke in a world in which none of our trading partners, other than EU, has an ETS in place or in prospect, and even the EU scheme does not include agriculture of any direct charges on consumers.

“All of a sudden, people are asking why our Prime Minister continues to support this charge on New Zealanders, that his Australian counterpart has abandoned, and that contradicts what Mr Key said in September 2007 that to simply kneecap our economy and then to leave NZ companies in a much worse position than say, other countries, who are also located on the same planet, doesn't really seem to make sense."

“Mr Key would do well to look at where Kevin Rudd was in the electoral popularity stakes 17 months ago (the time between now and New Zealand’s next general election) compared with the current political chaos in Australia, and ask himself what started the rot for Mr Rudd.

“What Mr Key, his government, and all New Zealanders should realise is that we are not calling for repeal of the current ETS legislation, simply deferral of its introduction until all of the outstanding questions about costs and effectiveness can be answered, and until the rest of the world catches up to our all sectors all gases legislation which will remain on our statutes book as a signal to the world that we have not forgotten our fair share,” said Mr Dunleavy.


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