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Uncertainty still surrounds Kyoto

Dr Paul Hutchison

National Science Spokesperson

18th October 2002

Uncertainty still surrounds Kyoto

The Government's Kyoto announcement asks more questions than it answers, says National's Science Spokesperson Dr Paul Hutchison.

"It is incredible that the Government is pushing ahead with ratifying the Kyoto Protocol when there is a lack of understanding of the impacts for New Zealand, and even the Government admits "there remains no real consensus on what the nature of the response should be."

Dr Hutchison, who sat on the Select Committee considering the Climate Change Response Bill, says National supports the need to reduce man-made emissions from fossil fuels but that early ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is not the way to go about it.

"There are numerous small and medium sized businesses throughout the country who have little idea how the carbon taxes will impact on them. A glasshouse company in Port Waikato with a turnover of $45 million are deeply concerned that they cannot engage with the Government, and remain in the dark as to how Kyoto will affect them.

"By ratifying ahead of our major trading partners, like Australia and the US, the Government is giving foreign industries an advantage over New Zealand firms. The special negotiated agreements with the Government to stop production moving overseas will only apply to a small number of large firms.

"Agriculture is excluded from the first commitment period, while the rest of New Zealand industry is stuck with the tax.

"The Government has toned down the powers of entry for inspectors onto New Zealand farms, but there is still no legal opinion from the Attorney-General on whether the modified provisions contravene the Bill of Rights. Professor Joseph of Canterbury University called the original provisions "state-sanctioned trespass."

"The Government should defer ratification until it has properly determined the effects on the New Zealand economy and environment, and until our major trading partners come on-board as well," said Dr Hutchison.

Ends

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