Feb 28, 2008

Climate Change Legislation In Trouble

We wrote over a week ago that we had heard suggestions of a Government rethink afoot on its emissions trading regime.

Interestingly this was the theme of the lead item in today's edition of Molesworth and Featherston. What is particularly important here is not the similarity in theme, but the fact that Molesworth and Featherston has particularly close links to Dr Cullen. And the theme of our post was, that it was Dr Cullen who was getting more worried the more he dug into the issues.

We quote some of the M&F story:

The Government’s emissions trading scheme may be running
into a spot of bother.

There is concern in the business community and on the
finance & expenditure select committee that has to consider
the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable
Preference) Bill about the complexity of the legislation and
the time to prepare submissions.

Mr Parker is believed to be considering changes
to his bill through the climate change leadership forum led by
Warehouse boss Stephen Tindall. Mr Tindall is working on
changes with government officials, iwi and union leaders,
Greenpeace and businesspeople including Air New Zealand’s
Rob Fyfe, BP’s Peter Griffiths and Contact Energy’s David
Baldwin. With changes likely to be made by the Tindall group,
it is not clear what submitters to the Select Committee are
meant to submit on – the bill as written or so far unknown
changes. No matter, the deadline for submissions closes on
Friday. They are likely to have to be reopened once Parker’s
changes are known.

Of more worry to the Government, as we predicted when the
scheme was unveiled, Treaty claims could derail the whole
thing. The Federation of Maori Authorities and leading iwi are
believed to be preparing a challenge to the Waitangi Tribunal
against plans to impose a $13,000 per hectare liability on
owners of pre-1990 forests who want to convert to another
land use.

FOMA and others argue the liability conflicts with the Treaty
guarantee of “full, exclusive and undisturbed possession” of
lands and forests.

Going to the Waitangi Tribunal could tie up climate change
policy in the Tribunal for months or years, delaying the passage of the Bill – or forcing the
Government to ram through the legislation while it is still before the tribunal.

Also under pressure over the issue - some of the country’s biggest business lobby groups.
Some members of the Business Council for Sustainable Development have been agitated over
the vocal support of their lobby group for the emissions trading scheme and there are rumours of confrontations with the organisation’s ceo Peter Neilson.