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Dump this ETS bill, say Submitters

21 October 2009 Media Statement
Dump this ETS bill, say submitters

The Government is facing near-universal opposition to the changes it wants to make to the Emissions Trading Scheme, Labour's Finance and Climate Change spokespeople said today.

Submitters have repeatedly called for the Bill to be dumped – because it is so badly designed it cannot hope to achieve even the Government's weak targets.

"Words such as ‘window dressing', 'immoral' and 'deck chairs on the Titanic' were used to describe the Bill by today's submitters,” Climate Change Spokesperson Charles Chauvel said.

"This Bill whacks as much as tens of billions on the nation's credit card, which would have to be paid for by the next generation," Finance Spokesperson David Cunliffe said.

"How can we face our kids and ask them to fork out billions of dollars extra in taxes to subsidise today's polluters?" Mr Cunliffe said.

The huge opposition to the Bill has centred on the following aspects:

• the delay of agriculture's entry until 2015 ;

• the uncapped, intensity-based method of allocating a right to continue to pollute;

• the extremely slow phase-out of allocation of free carbon credits;

• the transitional phase between 2009 and the end of 2012, under which polluters have a ‘half obligation’ and access to a fixed $25 price of carbon; and

• the removal of the Household Fund, which provides $1 billion over 15 years towards residential energy efficiency.

The independent Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment told the Committee last week the amendments will see overall pollution increase, at greater cost to the taxpayer, with no possible contribution to meeting our country's already modest pollution reduction targets, Mr Cunliffe said.

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Charles Chauvel said there is real anger at National's rushing the submissions process through the Finance and Expenditure Committee.

"Many submitters have complained about the ludicrously short notice -- in some cases less than a day – to appear at the committee. And National selectively released cabinet papers with vital information deleted just three days before the close of submissions.”

"Treasury has also criticised the process, highlighting the lack of a proper regulatory impact analysis, and the uncertainty of trying to align New Zealand's ETS with the still non-existent Australian scheme," David Cunliffe said.

"This legislation is disastrous for New Zealand and Kiwi taxpayers. No wonder the Government is trying to rush it through a select committee.

“Labour calls on all MPs on the committee to vote according to the evidence we are hearing, and to reject these flawed, rushed, and shambolic amendments," David Cunliffe and Charles Chauvel said.


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