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Govt Appoints Greenhouse Agreement Negotiator

The Government has appointed Brian Roche as its negotiator to begin developing Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from major emitters.

Mr Roche, a corporate finance partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Wellington, was Chief Crown Negotiator for the Ngai Tahu settlement and has broad experience in commerce and government.

"Industry and government need to work in partnership to confront the problem of greenhouse gas emissions," says Pete Hodgson, Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change. "Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements will be a key component in New Zealand’s response to climate change."

Mr Roche will be responsible for negotiating Heads of Agreement, setting out the general shape and content of binding agreements between emitters and the Crown on reducing emissions. More detailed individual agreements will follow.

"These agreements will build on the progress made under the voluntary emissions reductions agreements that were in place from 1995 to 2000," Mr Hodgson said.

The voluntary agreements targeted major energy-intensive industries, including energy supply. Most of these industries, accounting for 47 percent of New Zealand's 1990 carbon dioxide emissions, signed agreements and improvements totalling I.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide have been reported.

"Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements will be more rigorous than the voluntary agreements, with sanctions and improved standards of monitoring and reporting," Mr Hodgson said.

"The agreements will set greenhouse gas emission limits for the industries involved until 2008, when New Zealand will have binding national emissions targets if it ratifies the Kyoto Protocol. Parties may be single firms, industry sector associations, or any group of firms associated for the purposes of an agreement.

"A principal motivation for firms' interest in Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements is to get satisfactory assurances from the Government that they will not have to 'pay twice' under future greenhouse policy measures because of the commitments they have already made to reduce emissions. One focus of concern has been a possible carbon charge, which the Government has asked the Taxation Review to consider.

"I have written to potential greenhouse partners inviting expressions of interest in negotiating agreements," Mr Hodgson said. "I intend to meet interested parties in August to introduce Brian Roche and set out the Government's objectives and the process for negotiations."

Industries being invited to negotiate agreements are major energy and industrial process emitters, including gas-based industries, steel and aluminium production and resource processing.

Ends

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