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Greens will not support a gutless ETS

6 May 2008

Greens will not support a gutless ETS

The Government will have to look to the National party to support its Emissions Trading legislation if it is watered down to the point where it provides no significant environmental benefit.

"We are not in this game just so some can make money speculating on carbon prices. Emissions reductions need to be real and soon, or it is not worth doing it," Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

Pressure from some business interests and the National party is causing Labour to rethink its climate change policies. Possibilities include delaying bringing in transport to the scheme and giving larger free allocations to business, with even slower phase out.

"While the Green Party understands the concerns of people trapped in their cars with rising fuel costs and few alternatives, this delay would make it worse over the next few years.

"This would mean another two years of people buying larger cars than they need, and using them when there are alternatives like public transport, car pooling, biking and walking. It means another two years of worse traffic congestion and air pollution in cities. And it means a larger tax bill for everyone if transport users are not paying their way and credits have to be bought by the taxpayer.

"It would weaken our credibility internationally and our sustainable brand.

"The answer to affordable transport is not to avoid paying the true costs, but to raise incomes, especially for those on fixed incomes and the minimum wage," Ms Fitzsimons says.

As it stands, the ETS proposal is very weak and extremely late. Successive governments have delayed for 16 years since we signed the first climate change treaty, and in that time our emissions have climbed 26 percent.

"The Green Party will not add its support to further reducing it to meaningless hot air, so far into the future that no-one will believe it is going to happen. If the Government wants to renege on its environmental commitments it will have to rely on a grand coalition to get it through.

"We commend the Waikato Chamber of Commerce, which today supported honouring our environmental commitments. We need far sighted businesses like this which are prepared to invest in sustainability."

ENDS

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