The Finance and Expenditure Committee has released their report on the Emissions Trading Scheme bill being pushed by the National Government.
There’s a great deal covered in the report itself, and I will try to avoid reiterating everything, but I wanted to give my two cents.
The whole process, from the ETS review committee (which was a waste of time), to the walkout by National on a grand coalition with Labour (which would have settled the issue months ago), to the backroom deals with the Maori party (who knows what else has been agreed to), and now with the select committee (carried out under extreme haste) and upcoming debates in the House is tantamount to a collusion of deception and greed.
The evidence clearly shows that National had always intended to get a watered down ETS, while trying to convince the NZ public and other countries at Copenhagen the complete opposite. They were able to enlist the support of the Maori party, in a deal that will in my opinion come back to haunt them.
The strategy was to slam the changes through before the public would have a chance to learn better. National has refused to release background information and they have permitted superficial departmental advice to be issued to MPs in the select committee. In fact, even the Parliamentary Counsel office (who help write the legislation – people who help avoid bad laws from being written) could provide only an untested draft on the day of deliberation
Therefore, what does this all mean – here are the numbers:
Written submissions, the majority of which were from individuals.
Oral submissions over five days between 15 October and 27 October 2009
23 hours 35 minutes
The amount of time given for those 128 submissions. Compare this to the 58 hours of hearings for the 161 oral submissions heard when the original bill was put to the House by the Fifth Labour Government
National failed to get a majority for its proposed changes in the FEC Select Committee. They do not speak for the majority on their own bill.
Response from ShapeNZ survey who say that emitters should pay their share of the costs from climate change. In addition, nearly half of National voters and 75% of Maori Party voters opposed extending free emission credits assistance to large emitters. Kiwis are overwhelmingly not in favour of National’s proposed changes.
The minimum amount speculated by Dr Suzi Kerr, Visiting Professor of Economics, Stanford University that the taxpayer would subsidise to each worker at the Rio Tinto Aluminium Smelter at Tiwai Point, under the proposed changes to the allocation regime and phase-out of free units suggested by National.
According to the Minister of Agriculture, the Government plans to provide free carbon credits for 90 years. In fact, There is no specified date when allocation of free carbon credits will end under National’s proposal (the status quo is 30 years)
Including borrowing, the cost to the NZ taxpayer of the higher allocation to major emitters will be $100 billion by 2050. A back of the envelope calculation means this works out to 25,000 per person, each year, for 40 years.
As you can see, we will all have to pay for National’s haste. What a waste.