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Government must address Kyoto threat

2 November 2001
For immediate release

With the world staring down the barrel of a recession the government has to pull back its timetable for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol Carter Holt Harvey’s Chief Operating Officer Jay Goodenbour said today.

“The Climate Change treaty is one of the most complicated and far reaching treaties ever negotiated. Its economic consequences are highly unpredictable. Most developed economies are already reeling from the effects of September 11 and a slowing US economy.

“Several recent independent assessments indicate that Kyoto will hurt our ability to export, will increase costs and cost jobs. The Government’s planners admit they will have to intervene in the market by using subsidies and other protective mechanisms to protect the New Zealand economy from the international inequities caused by those countries not part of the Kyoto Protocol.

“It is understandable that over recent weeks industry leaders have united in calling for the government not to ratify ahead of our trading partners and the US.

“We only need to look to the United Kingdom for examples of how one government’s actions on climate change have impacted an economy far bigger than New Zealand’s. Recent reports in the UK confirm that climate change levies there have increased gas prices by 7 percent, electricity prices by 8 percent and coal prices by 13 percent.

“For New Zealand the risks are even greater. The economic costs are too high for what will be tiny environmental gains. New Zealand produces 0.2 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases; the United States produce 35 percent. Until the US joins Kyoto, the evidence shows that protocol will not measurably impact world climate change. Therefore New Zealand bears all the risk for minimal gain to the environment.

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“We continue to call on the government to postpone legislative action and treaty ratification until New Zealand’s major competitive countries agree to do so. This delay would be the rational decision to safeguard New Zealand’s interests. Undertaking such a massive economic change experiment in the present environment is irresponsible, as the UK example demonstrates. The UK evidence shows how difficult it is for governments to undertake economic engineering effectively.
“A delay to the ratification timetable will also allow the government to get its legislative process in the right order. As it currently stands, New Zealand will have to ratify Kyoto before knowing the policy options – and the costs of those options to New Zealand.

ENDS

For further information please contact:
Bridget Abernethy – Corporate Affairs
Email: bridget.abernethy@chh.com

Carter Holt Harvey (www.chh.com) is a leading Australasian company, with diverse interests in wood products, tissue, forestry,
manufacturing, pulp and paper, information technology, venture capital and human resources. With a head office based in Auckland,
New Zealand, the company employs 10,000 people directly. Leading Carter Holt Harvey brands include Sorbent, Deeko, Treasures,
Libra, Customwood, Pinex and Bestwood.

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