Minister for Climate Change Issues Tim Groser has declined a request by ACT to make the ETS a truly open market mechanism, ACT Deputy & ETS Spokesman Leader John Boscawen said today.
“We wrote to Mr Groser asking him to submit a Supplementary Order Paper on the Climate Change Amendment Bill to ensure restrictions on international imports may be made only for qualitative reasons and not quantitative,” Mr Boscawen said.
“We did this because the current legislation allows future Ministers to ban high quality, environmentally sound foreign carbon credits.
Doing so would push up ETS costs on New Zealand households and exporters for no environmental benefit. In fact, Labour and the Greens are already on record saying they would like to do exactly that.
Yesterday in Parliament, Labour tried to set a totally arbitrary restriction requiring 50 per cent of all credits to be New Zealand Units and not foreign ones.
“This is like saying that 50 per cent of all goods sold in New Zealand must be New Zealand made – a return to Muldoon era policies.
“Mr Groser could have ensured that future Governments would have to come back to Parliament and pass legislation in full view of public scrutiny if they wanted to push up costs on New Zealanders by restricting their access to foreign carbon credits. But he declined to do so.
“We are disappointed that the Government would not go further and use legislation to reinforce New Zealanders’ right to purchase carbon credits at the world price – it’s a missed opportunity.
“Nevertheless we are pleased to have supported this overall bill which greatly reduces the costs on New Zealand exporters and households,” Mr Boscawen said.