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Big emitters behind delay in ETS submissions

Media release
13 February 2009


Big emitters behind delay in ETS submissions

The closing date for submissions on the emissions trading scheme review has been extended because a group representing some of New Zealand’s largest companies realised it wasn’t going to be heard, Carbon News reports today.

Submissions were supposed to be in by today, but Parliament announced yesterday that it was extending the deadline by two weeks, to February 27.

Carbon News (www.carbonnews.co.nz) says the clerk’s office as refusing to say how many submissions have been received and why the deadline has been extended, but it understands the two-week delay was sparked by a request from the Greenhouse Policy Coalition because it feared that it would not be heard.

In December, United Future leader Peter Dunne, who will chair the special select committee set up to review the ETS, told Carbon News that groups wanting to re-litigate the science of climate change were unlikely to heard.

His office repeated that position last month.

Sources say that the Greenhouse Policy Coalition – whose members include New Zealand Aluminium Smelters, New Zealand Steel, Fonterra, the Coal Association, Carter Holt Harvey, Norske Skog Tasman, Winstone Pulp, Pan Pacific Forest Products, SCA Hygiene, Business New Zealand, Solid Energy and Methanex – realised that it was in danger of not being heard because its submission failed to meet Dunne’s criteria.

The organisation asked for more time to come up with an acceptable submission, and it is understood that several members of the coalition then also asked for extensions. (Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O’Reilly has confirmed to Carbon News that his organisation asked for more time).

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A spokesman for Dunne said that, with some organisations already having been given an extension, the committee decided yesterday in the interest of fairness, to extend the deadline for submissions – and submitters are now being told to indicate the particular aspect of the terms of reference that their submission relates to.

Dunne’s spokesman said that a number of submissions had questioned the existence of climate change itself, and that the committee’s terms of reference do not mean that it is obliged to go back to first principles in this way.

He was unable to say when the committee would begin hearing submissions, but said that the deadline extension would not delay the timing of hearings, reporting back or any changes to the act that are recommended by the committee.

ENDS

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