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Aussie ETS no model for New Zealand

16 July 2008

Aussie ETS no model for New Zealand

The Green Party is disappointed that Australia's proposed emissions trading scheme will not provide a model for New Zealand.

"Those in New Zealand, who've been proposing we drag the chain until we have an Australian model to copy, can abandon that idea. Australia has been seduced by these large polluters who are happy to address climate change as long as it doesn't cost anything," Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"New Zealand must act urgently, with a scheme that is more effective and fair than that currently proposed here. As the head of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Rajendra Pachauri has said: 'What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.'

"Treading 'softly, softly', as the Australian scheme is being described, is no way to address a challenge as urgent and critical as climate change," Ms Fitzsimons says.

The decision to offset the cost of transport emissions by lowering petrol excise tax - contrary to the recommendation of climate change expert Professor Ross Garnaut - completely defeats the purpose of carbon pricing, and gives no incentives to replace V8s with more fuel efficient cars.

"The many Australians who saw hope in a new Government that would take leadership and set an example on climate change, will be thoroughly disappointed with their Government's proposal," she says.

Australia's situation is very different to New Zealand. Being so close to their Kyoto target that they are expected to meet it, makes passing on the cost much simpler, compared to New Zealand, where emissions are 25 percent above our target.

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"Also, Australian's emissions profile is very different to New Zealand's, particularly as the vast proportion of ours comes from agriculture - this fact means the Australian scheme was never likely to provide a useful model for New Zealand.

"The Australian people will no doubt call for this discussion paper to be strengthened in order to restore some credibility to Australia's commitment to climate change policies."

ENDS

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