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The Government's stopped even pretending it wants to combat climate change with amendments it is making to the Emissions Trading Scheme, Green Party climate change spokesperson Kennedy Graham said today.
"Rather than pretend to have a plan to include agriculture, or increase prices for emissions, or to remove its discount for many polluters, the Government has deferred them all indefinitely.
"It would be a shock for any other Government to introduce such a self-defeatist piece of legislation but unfortunately it is business as usual for John Key's Government. They don't want to deal with climate change so, just as with the brain drain to Australia, unemployment and housing unaffordability, they are simply ignoring it.
"That's not taking responsibility nor honouring the privilege they have been given by New Zealanders."
The National Government's Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Bill, introduced on Tuesday, is expected to be debated tonight.
"The ETS was already weak but will be irrelevant after these changes go through. The decisions to defer agriculture's inclusion and to freeze the price cap indefinitely fly in the face of the Review Panel's recommendations.
"The panel recommended agriculture face a one for two obligation in 2015 going to a one for one obligation in 2019. It also said the price cap should rise from $12.50 today to $30 in 2013 and $50 in 2017.
"The Bill will also allow forests to be cut down and dairy farms installed in their place.
"Where is the vision? The Government argues the bill will support growth priorities, that's short-sighted thinking that ignores the very real dangers to our economy that climate change will create.
"The Government's position on climate change is to defer action indefinitely and for the taxpayer to keep subsidising polluters. The Green Party would seize the opportunity to switch to a high-tech, low-carbon green economy for the sake of the planet and our kids."
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