Govt admits taxpayers subsidising millions of dollars of pollution under ETS
It has been revealed in Parliament today that taxpayers are paying millions of dollars for companies to pollute under
the Government’s failed emissions trading scheme (ETS), the Green Party said today.
“The Government has admitted that hundreds of millions of dollars of carbon units have been handed out for free to big
polluters, who have profited from them at the taxpayers’ expense,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.
“Climate Change Minister Tim Groser was explicit that the ETS was designed to allow companies to ‘maximise their fiscal
Last year, 34 million free units were given away to large polluting companies under the ETS, worth, on average current
market value, $165 million. A total of $1.36 billion worth of taxpayer-funded units have been given away between 2010
and June 2014.
The companies then surrender much cheaper international units to meet their emissions obligations under the ETS, either
banking the more valuable NZ units or selling them for profit.
“The Government may have closed the legal loophole allowing post-1989 foresters to manipulate the ETS, but this leaves
other sectors still gaming the system, and being funded by taxpayers to pollute,” said Dr Norman.
“Carbon traders tell us some of these companies have been making huge profits, with zero positive impact on the climate.
“Meanwhile this is all top secret. Taxpayers are not entitled to know which companies are receiving the hand-outs and to
“This is another example of National’s cosy back-room dealings with big business at the expense or ordinary New
“The Government needs to come clean and admit taxpayers are basically paying for these companies to profit from trashing
According to the Government’s own figures, New Zealand’s net emissions are projected to rise by 50 percent in the next
Experts have said the ETS is holding back New Zealand’s transition to a low carbon economy.
“The ETS has been a monumental failure. It was designed to incentivise emission reductions, investment in clean
technology, and the planting of trees,” said Dr Norman.
“It has done none of these things, yet taxpayers continue to pick up the bill for it.”