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Monday, September 28

National bid to cover up massive ETS costs exposed

New documents released yesterday show the Government has been trying to cover up a multi-billion dollar extra cost to taxpayers because of its plans to subsidise major greenhouse gas polluting companies, says Labour climate change issues spokesperson Charles Chauvel.

Charles Chauvel says: “The Minister for Climate Change Issues has even been caught tabling just half an official document in Parliament. The other half of the document shows the National-Maori Party plan to subsidise polluters will cost taxpayers more than $2 billion extra, and it will then rise at $500 million a year.

“On Tuesday the Government said the extra cost was $415 million by 2013. On Thursday the other half of a document became available and it is up to $2.167 billion by 2030, and $500 million a year extra after that,” Charles Chauvel said.

“This is a staggering sum, but it does not reveal the total cost yet. It is just the fiscal cost – the extra cost to taxpayers – if radical changes are made to the emissions trading scheme to give the biggest polluters huge subsidies, some without limit, for the next 70 to 90 years, depending on which Minister you believe.”

Charles Chauvel said: “At the same time the Government is withholding the file of Treasury and other documents showing the full costs. It wants to rush its ‘emitter mates bill’ through Parliament without the public or MPs being given a chance to assess its real costs or its fairness.

“How fair will it be for New Zealanders to sacrifice extra spending on education, health and other vital services simply to pay big polluters to carry on polluting and, in some cases, increase pollution at taxpayers’ expense?

“The deliberate withholding of the extra costs on Tuesday, when Nick Smith tabled just half a document, was another attempt to con the public. Full disclosure of all costs and an independent analysis of them and their fairness is needed.

“It should be commissioned from independent sources for the select committee hearing the ETS amendment bill. Shonky behaviour, shonky figures and shonky analysis will not be acceptable to taxpayers when they discover the true costs, and realise just what opportunities they and the country must forgo to pay for pollution as usual for generations to come.”