The review of the Government's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) proposes to increase subsidies to climate polluters, at the cost of the New Zealand taxpayer and the climate, said the Green Party today.
The report released today was the culmination of a Government review of the ETS, and states that its recommendations to weaken the scheme will raise costs that will be borne by the taxpayer.
"Responding to climate change is the most significant challenge that we face. We must act for the sake of our children and our grandchildren," said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.
"We can have a low carbon economy that works for all New Zealanders, for generations to come, but for that we need to put an effective price on greenhouse pollution now," said Dr Norman.
"John Key's Government introduced a watered-down ETS that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by less than one percent. Now they want to weaken it even further, and they want the New Zealand taxpayer to pick up the increased tab for polluting industries.
"When they talk about striking a balance and slowing the introduction of a price on carbon, what they really mean is putting off until tomorrow the hard work that we need to do today.
"The agricultural sector, responsible for half our emissions, will take the lesson from this that it pays off to lobby Government to maintain subsidies, rather than actually investing to reduce emissions.
"The Monetary Policy Statement out today shows that commodity prices are set to stay high, which means greenhouse intensive industries like dairy are in a strong position to pay their own way. But This Government will continue to give them a hand-out.
"It is green-washing to claim we have a meaningful mechanism to reduce carbon emissions, when we do not.
"The report notes that our major trading partners, especially Australia, are moving in a much clearer direction to set a firm price on greenhouse pollution.
"New Zealanders will lose twice by this move. Firstly the tax payer will have to pick up the tab for greenhouse polluters. Secondly, we will miss the smart green economic wave, as new low carbon industries set up across the ditch where they will receive greater support," said Dr Norman.
"Nothing changes corporate behaviour like a price signal. We need real action now, at every level of Government, to actually reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and support a transition to an economy that is resilient to climate change and high oil prices.
"Climate change won't go away until we do something about it — the sooner we act to reduce emissions, the better off we will be," said Dr Norman.