Govt gets green light for ETS

New Zealand First has announced it is supporting the Government's emissions trading scheme (ETS), which means there is a majority for the legislation to be passed by Parliament.

The Government had to negotiate with the Greens and NZ First to get enough votes, and yesterday the Greens said they would back it.

Both the minor parties gained concessions for their support.

The Greens persuaded ministers to allocate $1 billion over the next 15 years for insulating homes to make them more energy efficient.

NZ First said today it had secured a package that would ensure all households received a one-off payment to mitigate the impact of the ETS, which is expected to increase power and fuel costs.

Party leader Winston Peters said low income people and pensioners would also be looked after through inflation-adjusted measures so that they kept ahead of price increases.

He did not give any details of either of those measures.

NZ First's agreement to support the bill was a relief for the Government, because the ETS is at the heart of its climate change policy.

It is a regime which will eventually control the emission limits of all sectors of the economy.

Sectors that exceed their limit will have to buy credits from those which are below their cap.

The National Party opposes the ETS, saying it is being rushed and carries unacceptably high economic costs.

It has said it will change the scheme if it wins the election.

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