ETS rips off taxpayers, poor families hardest hit

Published: Wed 18 Jun 2008 09:32 AM
ETS rips off taxpayers, with poor families hardest hit – Maori Party
Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leader 17 June 2008
The ETS is New Zealand’s game plan for the future of the planet – but the heavy hitters on our team are refusing to take the field, says the Maori Party.
“As families and taxpayers line up to face the challenge laid down in Kyoto, we find the major polluters won’t take part in case they get hurt. They want us to take the hits, while they sit in their corporate boxes trying to win the game by phoning and pressurising the referee and touch judges,” said Co-leader Tariana Turia.
“Make no mistake – the challenge of global warming is under way already. Kyoto simply sets out the rules. But the longer big business delays their entry, the less likely we are to survive to the next round,” she said.
“The ETS as it currently stands is not fair and not transparent. Costs fall almost entirely on families and taxpayers, while big businesses and industrial farmers who are generating greenhouse gases get off scot free for years to come.
“This selfish head-in-the-sand attitude just makes the impacts worse in the future. The sooner we start, the easier it will be on everyone.
“The Maori Party knows there will be real costs that threaten the viability of some businesses. The ETS should deal with those situations as they arise – not by giving blanket protections to whole industries, which remove any incentive to cut emissions.
“We have sympathy for the seafood industry – why are other export industries given carbon credits, but fishers are not included in the lolly scramble? The whole scheme is riddled with inconsistencies,” said Mrs Turia.
“We need a transparent trading system where any business that is under threat can make its case for relief, alongside families who are struggling to make ends meet, Maori land trusts and small businesses who need advice to help them comply, and rural families with their special needs for private transport,” she said.
“The ETS currently does not do this. Making a thousand amendments to this legislation is papering over the cracks. It is fundamentally flawed and in its current form delivers little for the environment and Papatuanuku.
“There are other issues of unfairness to Maori groups who are taking over Crown forests, for example. These should be dealt with outside the ETS, as part of their Treaty settlements.
“The key point is, we cannot afford to let major polluters and industrial farmers sit on the bench and get time out awarded to them until they see the run of play is going in their favour. Climate change affects us all, and the biggest emitters have the greatest responsibility to change the way they do business,” said Mrs Turia.

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