“The Government’s ETS reform options released today are largely unnecessary,” says ACT’s Environment Spokesperson Simon Court. “CO2 reductions can be achieved by supporting the current Emissions Trading Scheme.”

“All the problems to date have been the result of Government meddling. The ETS itself has shown it can work, we just have to be brave and implement it properly.

“The changes proposed today involve either putting restrictions on how NZUs can be used, creating separate NZUs for emissions reductions or absorption, or increasing demand by allowing Government or overseas investors to buy NZUs. All of these options create additional complexity and uncertainty which will make the ETS less effective.

“More troubling is the possibility that Climate Change Minister James Shaw's proposals may also be effectively confiscating the value of pine on Māori land, which could lead to Treaty claims. There has already been court action on this front, and we have seen what happened to the Kermadec sanctuary proposal when Māori property rights were ignored.

“ACT proposes that we return to the original – and successful – model for the ETS and tighten the supply of NZUs. There is already evidence that this was working, as New Zealand’s emissions have remained stable even while our population and GDP have increased.

"One of the biggest concerns about the current ETS is that it acts as an incentive for pine forestry, which can have negative environmental impacts which are borne by the public. Rather than change the whole ETS scheme, ACT will announce policies that address the problem before the election."

“ACT believes the ETS scheme is a sound mechanism and can work, we just have to let it.”

ACT is also of the view that the Emissions Reduction target should be set at the average level our top five trading partners are reducing emissions, minus one percent. This figure could be updated regularly and would create a higher degree of certainty so that businesses can make the right investments at the right time to both reduce emissions and remain competitive.

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