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Cross-industry group urges slow down on Kyoto

Joint media release from the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, the Forest Industries Council, and Federated Farmers

For immediate release
24 October 2001

Cross-industry group urges slow down on Kyoto

Slow down on ratification of the Kyoto Protocol was the message to Government from a cross-industry group which met today to discuss climate change issues.

The workshop, hosted by the Forest Industries Council, the Greenhouse Policy Coalition and Federated Farmers, allowed a range of industry sectors to share knowledge and concerns on this matter, prior to the Government’s consultation forum, to be held in Wellington tomorrow.

Sectors represented included forestry and wood processing, agriculture, the energy sector, petroleum and manufacturing industries.

“This was an unprecedented gathering. The common interest of the groups present was the potential negative impact of Kyoto Protocol policies on New Zealand’s economy,” said Chris Baker, Chairman of the Greenhouse Policy Coalition.

“The group was unanimous in its concern over the Government’s approach to the Kyoto Protocol.”

President of Federated Farmers, Alastair Polson, said that while the group supported managing the risk of climate change, it opposed ratification now under the existing timetable, in the absence of full disclosure of and debate on the social and economic trade-offs which will need to be made.

“Workshop participants were particularly concerned about the social and economic impacts of the current policy proposals, in terms of international competitiveness, impact on GDP and ultimately, jobs,” Mr Polson said.

Chief Executive of the Forest Industries Council, James Griffiths, said New Zealand was particularly vulnerable because of the energy intensive, export dependent industries which form the backbone of our economy.

“Low energy costs are a key to New Zealand’s competitive advantage. Increasing these costs through the Kyoto Protocol will impact negatively on all our energy dependent industries, and the wider communities dependent on them.”

The group agreed that the coming months would be crucial for identifying the costs to New Zealand of ratifying the Protocol and developing the policy mix that minimises the costs to the country.

“We have a responsibility to our businesses, and to the wider New Zealand public, to ensure that policies adopted by the Government are subjected to rigorous and balanced analysis, so that New Zealand’s economic status, and jobs, are preserved,” Chris Baker said.

Ends

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