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Post Budget Urgency Ends

Parliament has ended the Urgency session which followed yesterday’s Budget.

The House rose at 4.50pm after completing the third reading of the Budget Measures (Miscellaneous Fiscal Matters) Bill divided into three bills:

The Cheque Duty Repeal Bill passed on a voice vote.

The Climate Change Response (Unit Restriction) Amendment Bill passed 72 to 37 with Labour and NZ First opposed.

The Countervailing Duties Amendment Bill passed by 93 to 15 with Greens, NZ First and Mana opposed.

The divided bill ends cheque duties and amongst other things the bill immediately suspends duties on plasterboard, reinforcing steel and nails, and tariffs on building products will be suspended from July 1.

Associate Finance Minister Craig Foss said the bill would reduce the cost building materials and thus the cost of building house by an estimated $3500 a house.

The bill also closes a reregistration arbitrage in the Emissions Trading Scheme. Associate Climate Change Minister Simon Bridges said under the ETS owners of post 1989 forest could register and deregister multiple times for the ETS. When they register receive they receive NZU carbon unit and then when they deregister can surrender cheaper overseas carbon unit and gain from the difference in prices. The changes in the bill meant when they deregistered they would have to surrender NZUs when they deregister.

Labour’s Moana Mackey said the bill was not about fixing an unintended consequence as much as it was about a fixing problem caused by the Government letting a flood of cheap carbon units collapse the price of carbon. She argued if the Government was trying to stop a reregistration rort it could simply have banned reregistering the same forest. The way proposed seemed to penalise foresters, but not polluters.

An amendment put forward in the committee stage which proposed the banning of all cheap carbon units in the emissions trading scheme were voted down by 51 to 63 with National, Maori Party, ACT and United Future opposed.

The House will sit again on May 20.

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