Sep 10, 2008

National Has The Power to Stop Passage of The ETS

The emissions trading scheme is bad law. Everyday that goes by finds new flaws with the legislation as new groups wake up to its implications. Yesterday it was the horticulture industry.

Media Release
September 9 2008
ETS Will Leave New Zealand’s Food Production Gasping
"It’s all very well insulating Kiwi houses, what about providing some insulation for our food industry?"
Horticulture New Zealand fears if the Emissions Trading Scheme passes
into law this week, our days as an internationally competitive food
producer are numbered.
The legislation has been rushed and is not well thought through in terms
of its impact on our position as a global food producer and exporter.
"As our growers slowly go out of business under the weight of the ETS
costs, New Zealand consumers are going to end up eating imported product
grown in countries with much higher carbon outputs than ours is now,"
HortNZ President Andrew Fenton says.
"Apart from the fact you can only buy about five bales of Pink Batts
with the average $600 each household is supposed to get under the
Government’s $1 billion home insulation plan, we are consuming more and
more cheap imported produce, which has no country of origin labelling
and could have been grown under environmental standards that would
literally make your hair curl."
The ETS will pass this week and it will have miniscule benefit to the
global environment and will seriously harm the viability of New Zealand
growers who can’t pass on the costs to consumers.
"Those low cost producing countries New Zealand competes with, like
Chile, South Africa and China, are years and years away from legislating
controls on emissions.
"While our politicians wait for these countries to account for their
carbon emissions, our horticulture industry will choke on its own high
HortNZ has calculated the ETS will cost the horticulture industry in
excess of $40 million a year.
Andrew says no one in Government has explained why we need to set
ourselves apart from the rest of the world and make such drastic
The fact is that New Zealand’s growers are far more energy efficient now
than they were in 1990 and that won’t be recognised by the ETS. Energy
is already so expensive that growers do not want to waste it.
"And as for buying-off households with promises of better insulation,
what a shame this Government doesn’t want to insulate New Zealanders
from an avalanche of imported food," Andrew says.

Today Matthew Hooton blogs about how National has it within its power to delay passage of this legislation by another day, by which time the Government may lose the support of NZ First (after Winston is fired - pressure is huge on the PM to do this now, but she is delaying until at least this evening).

Some in national appear relaxed about passage of the ETS. They should not be. The ETS is bad policy and while it can be changed, National should not underestimate the opposition it will face in making changes from the various vested interests who will benefit from the poorly designed Labour Party proposed scheme (as amended by the Greens to kill the economy and NZ First to reflect donations from the fishing industry). It will be MUCH easier for National to get its better designed scheme up next year if Labour's policy is not passed. We therefore agree with Hooton. National should show leadership by playing things out as long as they can.