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Climate Change Policy Indulges Polluters

Climate Change Policy Indulges Polluters; Bad Faith Policy Development

The Climate Change policy announced today by the government will not do enough to slow greenhouse gas pollution and is too, little too late, says Cath Wallace, of the environmental coalition, ECO.

Representing 65 member organisations, Cath Wallace says that the Policy should instead introduce pollution charges in late 2003, much sooner than the proposed 2007. This would allow New Zealand to get a head start on the control of greenhouse gases emissions which will be cheaper in the long term and for the sake of promoting energy efficiency which New Zealand needs more than ever with the expected exhaustion of the Maui Gas field in 2005.

ECO has been told that the policy reflects a deal done by Helen Clark, Michael Cullen and Paul Swain and the Greenhouse polluters' coalition, the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, in December 2001, says ECO.

ECO says the policy proposals issued today have failed to reflect widespread public concerns about the need to take early action and to take effective action soon, not later.

The Greenhouse Policy Coalition, apparently persuaded the senior ministers to postpone carbon charges until 2007, well beyond the term of the current government. They extracted huge concessions for farmers with exemption from methane charges and for the big polluters with Negotiated Agreements which are better called "pollution indulgences", says ECO.

"Suggestions of incentives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are a violation of the polluter pays principle which NZ is supposed to be committed to both via its membership of the OECD and the Rio Earth Summit, says Cath Wallace.

"The December 2001 agreement makes the policy consultation a farce that will have failed to meet the legal requirements for consultation to be done with an open mind.

"The public and environmental groups are sick and tired of the government indulging environmentally damaging commercial interests over the public interest and the interests of the future.

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