Prime Minister John Key risks New Zealand being seen as two-faced at the Paris Climate talks later today when he’ll call for reform of fossil fuel subsidies, while New Zealand is throwing around massive tax breaks for oil exploration, the Green Party says.
Prime Minister John Key intends to issue a communiqué to the United Nations tonight calling for countries to cut fossil fuel subsidies, and to make public the hand-outs governments are giving the industry.
The National Government has subsidised the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $46 million annually in the form of tax deductions for petroleum-mining expenditures which, according to an APEC review this year, “have no definite date of termination”.
“A New Zealand Prime Minister cannot stand on the world stage asking countries to do the right thing, while doing the exact opposite back home,” said Green Party Energy Spokesperson Gareth Hughes.
“Prime Minister John Key must ‘walk-the-talk’ at the Paris climate talks tonight and stop subsidising the multi-billion dollar fossil fuel industry.
“John Key is telling New Zealanders he supports climate action, yet he continues to prop up the fossil fuel industry to extract the very thing that puts us at risk of irreversible climate change.
“There are many who need more help from this Government, but a multi-billion dollar fossil fuel industry is not one of them.
“Despite the Government’s communiqué calling on other nations to be more transparent about fossil fuel subsidies it has so far refused to release how much it subsidised the industry in 2014 and 2015.
“Revenue Minister Todd McClay told the WWF, in response to an OIA request in October this year, that the Government no longer collected data on the level of tax deductions for petroleum mining, despite releasing similar information to WWF in 2012/13.
“National appears to be deliberately hiding the financial support it is giving the fossil fuel industry, which files in the face of its calls for more transparency from other counties.
“The Government can level the playing field for clean energy in New Zealand by eliminating subsidies and adopting the policies put forward as part to the Green Party’s Climate Plan. The Green Party has spent much of 2015 demanding the Government ensure solar power is treated fairly, the Super and ACC investment funds are divested from fossil fuels, and that companies responsible for climate pollution face a serious carbon tax,” said Mr Hughes.