Govt to be asked to come clean on fossil fuel subsidies

The Green Party will be asking the Government today to reveal the full extent of taxpayer support for fossil fuels, Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei says.

Yesterday 950 international environment groups awarded New Zealand the “Fossil Of The Day” award at the climate talks in Paris after John Key told international leaders to stop fossil fuel subsidies, while his own Government was providing financial support for fossil fuels to the tune of millions of dollars a year.

Later, the Minister of Revenue refused to tell Parliament how much the Government was providing in tax breaks to oil companies involved in fossil fuel exploration and extraction. He told reporters other Ministers would need to say what other kinds of support the National Government gave to fossil fuel businesses.

“New Zealanders who are doing their bit to protect the environment deserve to know how much public money is being spent encouraging the fossil fuel industries to pump out more climate-destroying pollution.

“It’s embarrassing to have New Zealand singled out in Paris for failing to walk the talk on fossil fuel subsidies, especially after the emissions reduction target New Zealand has taken to the talks has also been written off as “inadequate”.

“Today I’ll be asking the acting Prime Minister to reveal all tax breaks and all other financial support his Government is providing for the fossil fuel industries.

“Just last week, Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges announced the Government was spending $6 million on aeromagnetic surveys of the South Island, which are to map what minerals are underground and ‘generate interest in exploring for minerals in the region’.

“In September, the Minister for Science and Innovation granted $9.6 million for a project designed to encourage more oil and gas exploration. Two years ago the Government extended the tax exemption for non-resident oil rig and seismic vessel operators for an additional five years.

“The National Government needs to stop blaming science for failing to come up with a solution to agricultural emissions and focus instead on the changes it can make now, like ceasing all fossil fuel subsidies, cleaning up New Zealand’s transport pollution, and shifting to 100 percent clean renewable energy,” Mrs Turei said.

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