“National’s support for the Government’s flawed Zero Carbon Bill and its opposition to ACT’s attempts to improve the legislation are deeply disappointing”, ACT Leader David Seymour says.

“The Zero Carbon Bill requires that emissions offsets take place only in New Zealand. The New Zealand Initiative says this requirement will add $300 billion to our emissions bill, reduce national income by 6 per cent, and lead to higher emissions. It has called the Bill the most expensive piece of legislation in New Zealand’s history.

“Yesterday, ACT proposed an amendment which would have allowed New Zealanders to achieve emissions reductions at the lowest possible cost by purchasing overseas units as well as domestic units. It shouldn’t matter if trees are planted in Northland or in the Amazon. The requirement for emissions to be offset using only domestic units will have a significant impact on the cost of living, including higher fuel and food costs.

“The Zero Carbon Bill also gives the Climate Change Minister unconstrained power over the New Zealand economy. The Minister must plan how and where emissions will be reduced, in every sector of the economy, and this plan can be changed any time. This is Muldoonism in environmental drag.

“It is deeply unfortunate that National voted against ACT’s amendments to improve the legislation.

“As on the issues of freedom of expression and firearms legislation, ACT has been the lone voice of opposition to the Labour Government. In Red October last year, National voted with Labour on market studies, equal pay and child poverty legislation, with ACT voting against the entire Parliament.

“Ultimately, the Zero Carbon Bill is more about fundamentally transforming the economy and the way we live than it is about effectively reducing emissions.

“ACT could have supported a bill that allowed New Zealanders to reduce their emissions at least cost with minimal bureaucracy, but this legislation means expensive reductions with maximum bureaucracy.

“We have made genuine attempts to improve the Zero Carbon Bill, but we cannot support such flawed legislation.”