May 7, 2008

Herald Takes Gloves Off

Today's editorial in the NZ Herald is rather hard hitting (and frankly wrong. What the Herald fails to recognise it the the business groups were right and David Parker was wrong. Full marks to the PM and Michael Cullen for seeing where the truth lay)

Two days ago we suggested that a cost study commissioned by the business lobby should be taken with a grain of salt. The estimated growth reduction is not significant when the case is examined closely. The Prime Minister seemed to agree. Yet yesterday she postponed the scheme that was to start with an emissions cap and carbon trading in the transport sector next year.
As late as last week her Minister for Climate Change, David Parker, was refuting suggestions the scheme would be postponed and yesterday, even as his leader was announcing just that, Mr Parker was invoking the scheme in response to the Treasury's estimate that New Zealand's bill for exceeding emissions limits agreed in the Kyoto Protocol has already reached $1 billion.

The Herald doesn't seem to like the u-turn

So much for courage, so much for "sustainability", the watchword of Labour's election plans this year. Policies that boast environmental sustainability are worthless without a credible political commitment to them. The Government's retreat on two fronts yesterday undermines confidence in itself and its climate change programme.
The emissions trading scheme has been effectively postponed a year to 2010 when it will start with the electricity sector, transport fuel having been postponed to 2011. The Auckland Regional Council has been told it cannot introduce a 5c levy from next year to help meet the cost of electrifying its commuter rail services. The Government says the tax will now be phased in over several years to ensure the impact on motorists is minimised.
But what now are the chances that the Government in office next year will make electricity face emissions trading as 2010 approaches, particularly if household budgets might struggle to meet the higher power price? And when will Auckland commuters get an electrified rail alternative to car travel?