ACT Leader David Seymour has confirmed that he will vote against the second reading of Government’s Zero Carbon Bill and the first reading of its Emissions Trading Scheme legislation.
“These bills give the Government and in particular the Climate Change Minister massive power over the economy.
“The proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme allow the Minister to prevent New Zealanders from offsetting their emissions through overseas sources at a lower cost by restricting the number of approved overseas units.
“ACT believes that New Zealanders should be allowed to offset their emissions at the lowest possible cost, no matter their source or location.
“These provisions will increase costs on New Zealand households and businesses by raising the price of emissions.
“The Bill also allows the Government to make regulations prescribing price controls, minimum auction prices, and reserve amounts of New Zealand units to be released.
“ACT opposes the idea that the government should have a monopoly over such decisions.
“We will also continue to oppose the Zero Carbon Bill because it gives unfettered power to the Climate Change Minister over the economy.
“The legislation vests in the Minister the power to make an emissions reduction plan for the entire economy and to change it at any time.
“Let’s say the Minister wants to reduce the amount of electricity consumed to help reach targets for renewable energy. Under the bill, the Minister could make an emissions reduction plan that effectively shuts down Tiwai Point.
“With billions of dollars and thousands of jobs at stake, people will lobby and counter-lobby. Instead of being productive, the most important skill in business will become seeking political favour.
“Every sector’s ability to survive and expand will depend on getting an allocation of units from the Minister in the carbon budget.
“It is surprising that the National Party is voting to give the Minister and the Government such massive power over the economy.
“ACT will once again provide the principled voice of opposition against the Labour Government by voting against the entire Parliament 119-1.”