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The National Government is proposing to make sweeping changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) without providing the public with a detailed fiscal analysis on how much these changes will ultimately cost the taxpayer, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.
The Government released an ETS consultation document yesterday that proposed making significant concessions to carbon polluters but failed to include any kind of analysis of the likely fiscal impact of the changes.
"The National Government is proposing to make ETS changes with significant fiscal impacts but is failing to tell the public what the likely costs of these changes will be," said Dr Norman.
"This is not a smart way to run an economy, especially when the financial and environmental stakes are so high.
"The National Government is proposing changes to the ETS which risk adding billions of dollars of debt for our children to repay while they simultaneously deal with the consequences of runaway climate change.
"There are some supporting numbers through to 2020 in last year's ETS Review led by David Caygill, but the long term fiscal impacts up to 2050 are missing.
"Has the Government run the numbers and are actively suppressing them?
"Or have they not looked at the fiscal impact whatsoever, and are therefore being fiscally irresponsible?"
Dr Norman highlighted how further weakening of the carbon price signals in the ETS would slow the rate at which the New Zealand economy transitions to a clean tech, carbon neutral future.
"New Zealand has a wealth of low-cost options for cutting emissions but the ETS is no longer providing the certainty or the pricing signals for businesses and consumers to adopt them," said Dr Norman.
"The National Government is using taxes to subsidise a dirty economy over a clean one by not sending the right price signals through the ETS.
"The Green Party would phase out on-going ETS subsidies to polluters saving at least $1.2 billion over the next three years and bringing the Government's books back into surplus even sooner.
"But when you don't have an economic plan for a high-wage, clean tech economy, you end up inevitably bowing to powerful vested interests who only have their short-term profits in mind."
Government's consultation document on the proposed changes to the ETS:
Green Party's plan for creating a new green economy: