“The Government’s discrimination against overseas sources of emissions reductions will hurt the environment and the economy”, ACT Leader David Seymour says.
“The Zero Carbon Bill, as currently written, says that New Zealand’s emissions budget must be met, as far as possible, through domestic sources.
“But why should New Zealanders be restricted to purchasing just domestic units? It shouldn’t matter if trees are planted in Northland or in the Amazon rainforest.
“ACT believes that government should be neutral on the question of where emissions offsets take place.
“If New Zealanders are forced to offset their greenhouse gas emissions by paying $25 or more a tonne for domestic units, when they could be paying a lower price for overseas units, this will have a significant impact on the cost of living. It will raise the price of fuel, food and other everyday consumer goods.
“That’s why I am proposing an amendment to the Zero Carbon Bill this afternoon which would allow New Zealanders to achieve their emissions reduction obligations at the lowest possible cost.
“In setting more aggressive targets than other countries, and forcing New Zealanders to purchase more expensive domestic units, the Government will not only harm the economy but also force economic activity to less efficient jurisdictions, increasing global emissions. This is known as carbon leakage.
“The proposed amendment will combat carbon leakage by ensuring New Zealanders don’t pay more per tonne to achieve their emissions reduction obligations than overseas competitors.
“Some have questioned the quality of overseas units, so the amendment also introduces requirements for all units, regardless of their origin, to be of a quality approved by the Minister.
“If the Climate Change Minister is serious about tackling climate change, he will allow New Zealanders to achieve their emissions reductions at the lowest possible cost.”