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Climate change select committee established

Hon Dr Nick Smith Minister for Climate Change issues

9 December 2008


Climate change select committee established

New Zealand needs to build a broader consensus about how to make progress on climate change issues, Climate Change Minister Nick Smith said today in releasing the terms of reference for the select committee to review the Emissions Trading Scheme and related matters.

Dr Smith confirmed that the special select committee was being set up to honour the terms of the confidence and supply agreement between National and ACT.

“The new government takes a more modest view of New Zealand’s role in the global efforts to tackle climate change.

“It is unrealistic for New Zealand to proclaim itself as a world leader when our emissions have been growing at one of the fastest rates among developed countries. Our objective is to do our fair share.

“It is appropriate to have a fresh look at our policy response and the Emissions Trading Scheme given the poor track record on emissions, the changed economic environment, and the rushed way the legislation was passed.

“The choice of Peter Dunne in the chair is a quite deliberate step to build a broader consensus across the parliament. Mr Dunne had previously taken steps to take such an initiative but these were rebuffed by the previous government.

“This issue is bigger than any single party and the challenge will span over several governments. New Zealand’s intent would be better served if we could build broader support for the direction forward.”

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Members of the special select committee to review the Emissions Trading Scheme and related matters:

Hon Peter Dunne (Chair), Craig Foss, Nicky Wagner, Dr Paul Hutchison, Hekia Parata, Hon Rodney Hide, Hon David Parker, Moana Mackey, Charles Chauvel, Jeanette Fitzsimons, and one member of the Mâori Party

Terms of Reference:


* identify the central/benchmark projections which are being used as the motivation for international agreements to combat climate change; and consider the uncertainties and risks surrounding those projections

* hear views from trade and diplomatic experts on the international relations aspects of this issue

* consider the prospects for an international agreement on climate change post Kyoto 1, and the form such an agreement might take

* require a high quality, quantified, regulatory impact analysis to be produced to identify the net benefits or costs to New Zealand of any policy action, including international relations and commercial benefits and costs

* consider the impact on the New Zealand economy and New Zealand households of any climate change policies, having regard to the weak state of the economy, the need to safeguard New Zealand’s international competitiveness, the position of trade-exposed industries, and the actions of competing countries

* examine the relative merits of a mitigation or adaptation approach to climate change for New Zealand

* consider the case for increasing resources devoted to New Zealand-specific climate change research, examine the relative merits of an emissions trading scheme or a tax on carbon or energy as a New Zealand response to climate change

* consider the need for any additional regulatory interventions to combat climate change if a price mechanism (an ETS or a tax) is introduced

* consider the timing of introduction of any New Zealand measures, with particular reference to the outcome of the December 2009 Copenhagen meeting, the position of the United States, and the timetable for decisions and their implementation of the Australian government and report to the House accordingly.

ENDS

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