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Business Council: Stop the rock throwing

5 December 2006

Media Release

Business Council: Stop the rock throwing and get on with multi-party policy on climate change

Business welcomes the Prime Minister's move to call a multi-party conference on managing climate change.

The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development whose 51 member companies' $40 billion in annual sales equate to 30% of gross domestic product says all parties should now "stop throwing rocks and agree to a stable climate change policy in the national interest".

Business Council Chief Executive Peter Neilson says the country and businesses can secure significant gains from an agreement on long-term policies.

Some businesses were already making millions in savings from their efforts to reduce energy waste, improve processes and cut carbon emissions. Huge new opportunities to expand business would flow from the right climate change policies. These included potential new bio fuel crop businesses for the rural sector.

Already the Labour, National, United Future and Green parties had indicated they would like a multi party climate change conference to produce a widely supported climate change policy.

"It's time to get on with it."

The country needs to agree:

A system to measure greenhouse gas emissions,
The level at which emissions would be capped going forward, and
A price on carbon for all sectors.

"As soon as the country and business get clear signals on what emission levels will be allowed in the future and what they'll cost, it will be factored into long-term decision making. The quicker we do that, the better when considering projects with 30 to 50 year lives," Mr Neilson says.

"New Zealand is not so small that it can assume its policies in this area won't be noticed by the rest of the world, and especially our trading partners. Acting in the national interest in a unified way, as the country has done to solve other long term issues, like funding superannuation, will protect our trading position, image, environment and way of life.

"Reducing carbon emissions, or heading for carbon neutrality, don't mean we can't have growth. Emissions can be offset by doing things like planting trees.

"We can also do a number of very practical and highly popular things, like insulating 400,000 sick homes, bringing in cash incentives for people to buy low-emissions cars, and insisting that the Government's 47 core agencies direct their $6 billion a year on goods and services purchases to sustainable suppliers.

"Twenty years ago we removed subsidies for agriculture and we now have the most profitable agricultural sector in the world. The world is going green and New Zealand can achieve an advantage by going carbon neutral."


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