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Kyoto deficit now $1.7 billion: AG called in

Kyoto deficit now $1.7 billion: AG called in

National is accusing the Government of understating New Zealand’s Kyoto deficit by $1 billion and is seeking an independent review by the Auditor-General.

“This is at least $1 billion more than the $656 million admitted to in the Government’s 2006 Financial Statements and the country now faces a $1.7 billion deficit”, says National’s Climate Change spokesman, Nick Smith.

“The official deficit of $656 million is based on projected deforestation of just 26,000 hectares, yet official MAF papers now estimate that 47,000 hectares will be deforested during the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. This increases New Zealand’s carbon deficit from 41 million tonnes to 59 million tonnes.

“Nor is it credible for the Government to estimate the current market price for carbon at just NZ$16 (8.6 Euro) per tonne when reliable estimates put the price at NZ$30 (16 Euro).

“Using MAF’s own estimate of the rate of deforestation and the price of carbon in the European market, New Zealand’s Kyoto deficit is not $656 million, it is $1.7 billion.

“Labour is so embarrassed by the mess in climate change policy, and for promising that New Zealand stood to make hundreds of millions out of the Kyoto Protocol, that they are deliberately understating the scale of our deficit.

“In 2004, Labour scoffed at projections of a Kyoto deficit by Dr Alex Sundakov of Castalia Consultants. They should be cautious of dismissing this further billion-dollar blow-out when these figures from National are backed up by credible commentators like Murray Ward of GtripleC, the former head of the Government’s own Climate Change office.

“These awful figures show just how badly Labour’s climate change policies are failing. They particularly highlight how the decision to deny foresters any credits for trees planted is backfiring by increasing levels of deforestation.

“National has written to the Auditor-General to get an independent assessment of these huge liabilities. To make well-informed decisions on the way forward on climate change we need reliable figures on the scale of New Zealand’s problem.”

ENDS

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