Submissions on the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and other matters) Amendment Bill closed on Monday. The Finance and Expenditure Committee will now consider the submissions. They have not said yet whether they will hear submissions but I have asked to be heard. The Committee has to report back by 17 October so it will be fairly rushed and they may not want oral submissions apart from a few select ones.
The Bill deals with the entry date for bio emissions. We submitted that they should be removed from the ETS altogether. The reasons we gave were
Delaying the entry date for these emissions does nothing to reduce the uncertainty created by having the threat of such a large cost hanging over farmers heads. Being used as a political football is also not pleasant. This uncertainty impacts on service industries as well.
The cyclical and harmless nature of these bio emissions
Our clean green image.
Much is made of our self professed image and that we tarnish it by not including bio emissions in the ETS. No other country includes bio emissions in any of their emission reduction schemes so not including them in ours is hardly going to tarnish this image in their eyes. The fact that we still think we have this image having increased emissions by nearly 60% since 1990 would indicate that this image is a fantasy that will survive regardless.
Taxpayers subsidising farmers
Most MP’s do not understand the ETS, so in the submission we pointed out that until a sector is required to surrender emission units there is no liability. Not one dollar of taxpayer money is used to pay for livestock emissions.
There are some big changes to the ETS proposed in this Bill and we submitted on some of these. The changes are mostly to do with the supply of NZ Units including allowing the Government to auction units. Our submission is 8 pages so I haven’t posted it here. All submissions will be available on the Parliament website. If you want to wade through ours send me an email and I will send it.
The underlying reason for this Bill is to reduce the negative economic impact of the ETS and to modify the ETS to cope in a post Kyoto world. While Kyoto and the ETS are not linked the settings for the ETS were linked to our Kyoto obligation. Hence the need for changes and while the Minister has not announced any decisions about whether NZ is going to commit to the second Kyoto commitment period the changes in this Bill signal to me that he is not going to.
This is the summary of our submission, the main point I emphasise is that the ETS is a waste of time; the government has admitted it is not working and that other methods need to be investigated to reduce emissions. So why keep the ETS?
The ETS is not working; it was introduced to place a financial burden on New Zealanders so that behavioural change would reduce emissions. While it is still a financial burden on New Zealanders, particularly on the poor, by the Government’s own admission it is not arresting the increase in emissions and, if emissions are to be reduced, other methods need to be developed. When a policy does not achieve what it was designed to do, it should be dumped. If the Government does not have the stomach to strangle the New Zealand economy enough and burden the poor in this country enough for the ETS to be effective, it should at least have the stomach to dump the pretence and the ETS with it.