National off-side with business over agriculture

The self-proclaimed ‘business friendly’ National Government is out-of-step with its own bank and the wider business community who want stronger action to reign-in climate damaging pollution, the Green Party said today.

A new Ministry for the Environment report reveals that nearly all businesses surveyed believed the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) could do more to drive down carbon emissions in the business sector and encourage more tree planting.[1] An independent report just released by Westpac has also criticised the National Government for excluding agriculture from its review of the ETS, noting that doing so would pass the financial burden of emissions onto other businesses and households.[2]

“The National Government likes to portray itself walking hand-in-hand with business, but it is completely out of step with the kind of action business leaders want on climate change,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“The National Government has decided its upcoming review of the ETS will not allow any discussion on agriculture being charged for its emissions like most other businesses in New Zealand.

“This means the rest of us – including banks and businesses – are going to end up paying so the agricultural sector can pollute for free, something the banks are obviously getting pretty concerned about.

“By point blank refusing to give a date for including agriculture in the ETS, the National Government is making it more attractive to invest in polluting industries, than to invest in clean sectors of the economy. 

“National is actively choosing not to shift New Zealand to a clean, low-carbon economy, which will put both the future of our economy and environment at risk.

“The National Government needs to listen to the business community’s call and include agriculture in the upcoming ETS review.

“With our signature on the Paris climate agreement, New Zealand must step up and implement a functioning system for dealing with climate damaging pollution. The Government is welcome to use the Green Party’s Climate Tax Cut policy,” said Mr. Shaw.

References:

[1] Ministry for the Environment, The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme evaluation report 2016, see page 28.

[2] Westpac New Zealand, The Paris Agreement: what it means for New Zealand, see page 1.

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