Greens launch carbon tax policy

Russel Norman
Russel Norman
The Green Party has unveiled a bold plan to tax companies for their carbon pollution, though farmers would be charged half-price and all revenue would be returned to households and businesses.

The party has completely lost hope in the "failed" Emissions Trading Scheme and now wants to replace it with a carbon tax in order to ramp up New Zealand's efforts to combat climate change.

In a speech at the Green party AGM this afternoon, co-leader Russel Norman said climate change was the "biggest issue of our time", if not "the biggest issue of all time".

"Climate change is not war. It's not a plague. It's not a global financial crisis. There is nothing to compare it to in human history," he told delegates.

"We have no points of reference. Because of this, understanding what we're seeing and taking action is a challenge, both politically and psychologically."

He said Government's failure to grasp the problem had left New Zealand exposed.

If elected, Greens want to charge all sectors except agriculture $25 per tonne on C02 equivalent emissions.

Farmers would be charged $12.50 per tonne and forestry, which helps absorb carbon pollution, would be credited at a rate of $12.50 per tonne.

Sheep and lamb farming would initially be exempt from a carbon tax.

All of the revenue raised from the carbon charge would be returned to families and businesses.

All individual income under $2000 would be tax-free and companies would get a 1 per cent tax cut.

The carbon tax would be expected to raise the cost of petrol, food and electricity bills.

Once the increased costs of companies passing on the tax were taken into account, Greens estimated that households would be $319 better off every year.

The cost of a new independent Climate Commission, which would advise government on carbon pricing, would be funded by the savings from cutting the ETS.

At present, companies buy carbon credits through the ETS to cover the costs of their pollution.

Agriculture is excluded from the scheme and heavy polluters get up to 90 per cent of their credits free of charge.

Greens felt the ETS was now useless because farmers created roughly half of all carbon emissions and cheap foreign credits had undermined the market. The price of New Zealand carbon units had fallen from $25 to $5, which gave less incentive for companies to switch to low-carbon technology.

Dr Norman said climate change was already costing New Zealanders, pointing to $174 million in insurance pay-outs for weather-related events and $1.6 billion in damage from drought in the first five months of last year.

The carbon tax would cost New Zealand industry around $1.1 billion a year.

The revenue would be divided into tax breaks for companies ($250 million), income tax cuts ($641 million), and credits for forestry ($186 million).

Analysis by economic consultancy BERL said increased costs of fuel and electricity were likely to be passed on to consumers "with little impact on the bottom lines of these industries".

Consumers could expect to pay more in many areas under the proposed scheme.

Offsetting the carbon emissions of a return trip between Auckland and London would cost an airline around $97.50 per passenger - a cost that was likely to be passed on to the consumer.

Dr Norman also noted that 30 jobs had been lost at Fox Glacier because ice retreat caused by increased warming meant it could only be reached by helicopter, not by walking.

Deniers Club?

Rob Fischer puts any who dispute climate change into the Dunedin deniers club, without so much as a thought. He then moves onto the question of reducing carbon dioxide emissions as the 'holy grail' even citing the economist Paul Krugman publisher of the esoteric paper "economies of scale," for which he was awarded a Nobel Prize. Just how that qualifies him as a pundit on the subject of the vagaries of earth's constantly mutating climate eludes me. Just as the 'Greens' justification for instituting a punitive 'carbon tax' to save the world from an indefinitive fate eludes me. It can't be about gaining votes can it?

What the . . .

How has the retreating Fox Glacier cost 30 jobs just because it's too far to walk, last time I went we drove down to the end of the road then walked to the various viewing areas, according to the markers along the journey indicating the progression over the previous 150 years they have continued to lengthen the road to match the retreating glacier, so what has changed this time?

Maybe tourists threatened with added fuel taxes are staying away and this is the real reason they are laying off staff.

The real result of this scaremongering.

Cost of carbon dioxide reduction

Interesting article in the International New York Times >>Link<< about the (lack of) cost of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Until the Dunedin deniers club shows me that it's cleverer and better qualified than Paul Krugman, I think I'll stick with the experts.




"Climate change is not war. It's not a plague. It's not a global crisis." Dr Norman is dead right so far. He says "There is nothing to compare it to in human history."
Oh yes there is. Just in the last two milleniums there is recorded 'The Roman warming', the 'cold dark ages' the 'medieavel warming period', followed by the 'little ice age' and now the warming period which has been current through till the 1990's. Still no definitive science showing warming of any unusual levels. Yet on the strength of that, the Greens are prepared to risk all with a punitive tax that, if implemented, will destroy the middle and lower clases of this nation. Madness personified.

Here we go again

We don't need more impediments to our jobs. We don't need more self-imposed inefficiency. We don't need more tax. Our education system (and shortly our health system) needs a Labour Government either the coming term or the term after, but as long as the Green Party continues to openly plan mass unemployment Labour won't get near power. The Greens and IMP are a ball and chain which Labour needs to unlock itself from somehow.

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