Last year, I chaired the Finance and Expenditure Committee (FEC) while we heard submissions on the Emissions Trading Scheme (Mark 1). The Committee received 259 submissions. We heard in person from 161 of them in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch, and by ‘phone and video conference, over 58 hours of hearings, having closed submissions on 29 February and reported back to the House on 16 June.
At the time, Nick Smith, then the Nats’ climate change spokesperson, screamed and yelled that this was a terrible, rushed process.
Today, FEC started hearing submissions on Nick Smith’s bill to amend the ETS. We have about the same number of submissions, and about the same number wanting to be heard, as last year. Submissions closed on 13 October. We have a report-back date of 16 November. As Carbon News points out the Nats tried to severely limit the hearing of submissions on the amendments, but were outvoted today. Everyone who submitted on the actual bill – and asked to be heard – will be. The problem is that this is all to be done by in Wellington by next Thursday, so submitters will have very little notice of the need to appear, and no doubt many will miss out, especially those who are not Wellington-based. We might manage 30 hours of hearings.
All this on amendments that Treasury says could add 8% of GDP to NZ’s debt by 2030, for a scheme that the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment says cannot possibly help us meet even the Nat’s tiny pollution reduction targets.
What a great Government they are turning out to be.