Jun 27, 2008

Emissions Trading Scheme In Big Trouble

The Hive understands that Heather Simpson's negotiations with the NZ First team over the ETS have not gone well and that it is now most unlikely that NZ First will support the passage of this legislation without at least a further round of submissions on the 1,000 or so changes that have been made to the original Bill.

This means that the Labour Party (49 votes - 50 counting Anderton) will need the support of the Green Party (6 votes), Maori Party (4 votes) and 1 other to pass this law. That is assuming that Labour is prepared to take the risk on passing the law that will result in the most significant changes to our economic system since Helen Clark was last in Cabinet (and deputy PM) in the late 1980s by a margin of one vote.

We understand that Taito Phillip Field is not wanting to support the bill because he is concerned about the impact it will have on the poorer residents of his electorate.

The Maori Party is being lobbied hard by Maori fisheries, forestry and agriculture interests to oppose this legislation.

The Greens will support, but with changes required - the most controversial demand being that agriculture and transport come into the scheme earlier than is being proposed. Don't forget that next week, while Nandor is out there trying to buy a new watch, Russel Norman will be in Parliament. Will this make the Greens more radical and anti-dairy??

What is the Government to do? We would recommend agreeing to a new round of submissions and see whether more work in the select committee can bring National around. This will probably mean that the scheme will need to held over until the next Parliament (not what the Government wanted, but better than defeat).

The Government could force a vote, risk defeat, but in so doing seek electoral advantage (should there be some) by portraying National as the villains.

This is going to be fascinating to watch over the next couple of weeks. The same small parties are proving difficult over the land transport legislation also. If the polls were not so bad for Labour, this would be a good time to dissolve Parliament and go to the people. But given the polls, this isn't going to happen.

Are readers hearing what we are hearing? And what do you think the PM will do?