May 19, 2008

Business Supports National's Stance


Catherine Beard, executive director of the Greenhouse Policy Coalition, says that National’s withdrawal of support for the emissions trading Bill until significant flaws are remedied will be welcomed by the vast majority in the business community.

“I sat through most of the submissions made to the Select Committee and it is clear from hearing a wide range of views on the Bill that much work needs to be done to ensure that New Zealand business is not competitively disadvantaged internationally by being a first mover in the Asia Pacific region. It is heartening that the National Party have listened closely to submitters concerns about the impacts the Bill would have on their business and I would urge other political parties to do the same.”

Catherine Beard says it is puzzling that Minister David Parker is claiming any delay to the introduction of the scheme will cost tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars due to emitters not getting the right price signals.

“While it is highly unlikely the scheme can be fixed in the next three weeks of the Select Committee process, it is likely that a number of issues could be addressed before the entry of stationary energy and industrial process emissions in 2010.”

“In the meantime, as the government has already noted, motorists and businesses are getting a strong price signal through the increased cost of oil, and the same is true of electricity prices, which are at record highs this year, to the point where some industrials are reducing production.”

“If the Minister is concerned that more trees will get felled and not replanted while the policy is sorted out, then that could be addressed directly – not by rushing in a policy that will result in industry closure and job losses because it fails to adequately protect NZ industry against countries that fail to price carbon.”

“As the NZIER economic analysis shows, taxpayers have a lot to lose from an emissions trading scheme that results in the productive sectors of the economy taking a price hit in advance of our trading competitors. The result of a badly designed scheme will be lower wages and fewer jobs.”