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Greenhouse Policy Caves In To Polluter Pressure

Tuesday 30 April 2002 – Wellington

Government Greenhouse Policy Caves In To Polluter Pressure

The Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ, ECO, the alliance of 65 organisations with a concern for the environment, today called on people who want action on climate change to speak up. ECO today reacted angrily to what it said is the government’s failure to take timely and effective action to protect the climate. The government announced today its “preferred policy package” on greenhouse gas emissions – and said it would not introduce any greenhouse gas emissions charge until 2007.

“This policy is weaker than one could have imagined. It sets no incentives to avoid using fossil fuels or away from methane producing animals. There is no carbon tax until 2007 at the earliest and the rest of the measures are riven with concessions to polluters. Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements, the reliance on carbon sinks and the Projects are all polluter loop-holes.

“The government’s policy is weak because of a sustained campaign by the polluters and their PR company helpers. Michael Cullen, Lianne Dalziell and Paul Swain seem to have led to big cave-in. If the government cannot be trusted on this vital environmental issue, what can it be trusted on?

“It is a big sell-out of the future, the environment and the people of the Pacific states whose homelands will be at risk from rising sea levels. It will put New Zealand at risk of diseases borne by mosquitoes that will spread with expected wetter climates.

“The government’s preferred policy is to stick its head in a bucket of concrete and to ignore the problem of cracking ice shelves and destabilising climate, said Cath Wallace, co-chair of ECO. “It is very, very wrong of the government to postpone the introduction of a carbon charge until beyond the term not only of this government but the next.

“The Cement and Concrete interests, oil industries, Federated Farmers, milk powder manufacturers and other members of the fossil fuel using and the polluting business lobbies, along with the Engineers union and CTU have decided to sacrifice the future to the present. They have put the government under immense pressure. Future jobs will be lost.

“It is now time for people of conscience who care about the health of New Zealanders and those in the Pacific to speak up. The polluters and their political allies are dicing with the climate.

For further information, contact Cath Wallace at 04-463-5713 (work Tuesday to 3.30pm), 04-389-1696 (h) or 04-463-6447 (Wednesday or Thursday work)

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