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Monday, November 16

Smith’s ETS: something worth swearing about


Revelations that Climate Change Minister Nick Smith’s proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme are going to cost taxpayers an extra $105 billion is something really worth swearing about, Dr Russel Norman, Green Party Co-Leader said today.

“We now know for certain that the Government’s changes will cost the taxpayer an additional $105 billion dollars over the existing law, a whopping $24,000 per citizen.”

A deadlocked Finance and Expenditure Committee reported the Moderated Emissions Trading Bill back to the House unchanged today after Treasury admitted serious flaws in one of their figures.

Treasury had stated in an earlier Cabinet Paper that the proposed policy changes indicate a cumulative increase in Government debt of around 6-8% of GDP by 2050. On Thursday, Treasury informed the Select Committee that the true debt figure is 13-17% of GDP by 2050, a $50 billion dollar discrepancy.

“Treasury pointed out in the Bill itself that the Government’s work was too poor to base any decisions upon and their mistake highlights the pressure that officials are under to rush this legislation,” Dr Norman said.

“It is disappointing that the best advice we have had on the true cost of these changes has come from independent submitters, such as Dr Christina Hood, not the Government.

“The Minister needs to front up and explain how he got it all so wrong.

“It is time we consigned this deeply flawed legislation to the rubbish bin and got on with making the ETS we already have work. It is not perfect, but it will start reducing our emissions and give New Zealand businesses and the taxpayer certainty,” Dr Norman said.