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Carbon Charge Abandonment the First Broken Promise

Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ Inc (ECO)

Media Release - 21 December 2005 - Wellington

Carbon Charge Abandonment the First Broken Promise - cowardly and irresponsible

Abandonment of the carbon charge to reduce New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions is the first major broken promise for this government and is cowardly and deeply irresponsible, says the Environment and Conservation Organisations of New Zealand.

"This is the worst Christmas present for the planet - and we hold Peter Dunne and New Zealand First and the polluters of the Greenhouse Policy Coalition responsible", says Cath Wallace, co-chair of ECO. "The carbon charge was an economically efficient means to reduce greenhouse gases and to treat everyone fairly. Other measures will be less efficient and will be less effective."

"The officials' criticism of the carbon charge was that there were too many exemptions to make it fair to all and fully effective. The solution was to remove the exemptions such as the Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements and the exemption to agriculture, rather than to ditch it.

"ECO demands the immediate restitution of the provisions of the Resource Management Act that allowed consideration of greenhouse gas effects of activities. Those sections were removed on the basis that the carbon charge would be a substitute measure. With that gone, there can be no excuse for not putting the measures back in the RMA."

"ECO urges the community to tell the government clearly that they want action on climate change and that the planet is worth paying to protect.

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ECO is disgusted by the role of the major polluters and will work to ensure that the charge is not replaced by any allocation of pollution permits to any of the major polluters. If the carbon charge is to be replaced by a "cap and trade" tradable permit regime within a reduced limit of emissions, then it would be highly inequitable and distasteful if the major polluters and farmers were to be rewarded for their political obstruction and pollution with permit allocations. Any permits should be issued to all New Zealanders and the polluters should have to pay to buy up these.

"This policy cave-in is a regrettable event that will damage New Zealand's international standing and our less-than earned reputation for being clean and green", says Wallace.

ENDS

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