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MPs now aligned on climate change policy

20 December 2006

Media Release

Majority of MPs now aligned on climate change policy

The release of United Future's environment policy today reveals a majority of MPs are now aligned on climate change policies.

There is little now in the way of a multi-party climate change conference being able to agree on some major policy issues, says the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Labour, National, Green and United Future MPs are all agreed that climate change is happening and action to manage it is needed, the Business Council's Chief Executive, Mr Peter Neilson, says.

The energy, forestry and agriculture policy option papers released by the Government, National's Blue Green Vision policy options document released in October and now United Future's manifesto promises, show the majority of MPs are now generally agreed on:

- Reaching a multi-party agreement on climate change policies so business and the country can properly manage major long-term investment decisions - An emissions trading scheme, placing a price on carbon - Planting more forests to offset emissions from other sectors - More investment in emissions reduction technology - Policies to encourage energy efficient buildings - Lowering emissions from, and the age of, the nation's vehicle fleet, one of the oldest and most polluting in the world, with support from some for incentives - Encouraging the development of bio fuels - Revisiting the RMA, or using its national and environmental policy statement provisions, to ease the way for low-emission and renewable energy projects - Stepping up the rate of insulating the estimated 400,000 drafty, damp homes which are creating major health problems - Energy rating homes and vehicles - Stepping up research into how to conquer the country's biggest source of emissions, methane from ruminant animals.

"There will be lots of discussion, and possibly disagreement, on the details. That's to be admired as a healthy thing," Mr Neilson says.

"It's absolutely beyond doubt now that some concerted effort is needed – and will be supported by nearly all parties now in the Parliament – to call a multi-party conference on climate change policy.

"There is also an emerging consensus that governments should take a more carrots than sticks approach to policy making, to have New Zealanders voluntarily engage in hugely beneficial personal and business behaviour changes. Our extensive nationwide research shows New Zealanders are willing to help tackle climate change. They need to be given that opportunity. The benefits will be considerable.

"Done right we will have cleaner air, secure long term energy and water supplies, cleaner air and lower fuel bills from safer cars, and new research-based products and services, which lower emissions and improve energy efficiency, for sale to the world.

"The key now is political leadership which can deliver clearly agreed national goals, which will not only deliver us economic growth, but also take care of the environment and improve the quality of life Kiwis so cherish.

"There will be fewer and fewer votes for parties who refuse to be bold, fail to back innovation, and fail to give every New Zealander a role to play," Mr Neilson says.

"Setting an agreed date for a New Year multi-party climate change policy agreement conference, to start the agreement process, would perhaps be the best Christmas present our leaders could give our country."

ENDS

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