INDEPENDENT NEWS

Climate Change Requires A Central Govt Approach

Published: Wed 25 Jul 2001 04:02 PM
Climate Change Requires A Central Government Approach
Central government not local government must drive policy to meet New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions, Federated Farmers of New Zealand President Alistair Polson told the Local Government and Environment Committee on the Inquiry into the role of Local Government in meeting New Zealand's Climate Change Target today.
"Any Government response to meeting greenhouse gas reduction commitments must be practical and at least cost to the economy," Mr Polson said. "We can not run the risk of local authorities developing a fragmented response to climate change and creating significant economic distortions among the 76 districts and regions."
The Federation believes local authorities lack the expertise to determine what activities emit greenhouse gas emissions and to develop the appropriate policy measures.
"There are significant risks to the competitiveness of New Zealand agriculture sector should New Zealand places additional costs and restrictions on land users where our competitors do not."
"New Zealand is unique in having agriculture as the main contributor to its total greenhouse gas emissions, while below its 1990 emission levels.
If local government places further restrictions on farmers, New Zealand's agricultural exporters will be further penalised where they already face the effects of trade barriers and distorted international markets."
Federated Farmers supports measures by local government to reduce its costs through efficient energy use. However, Federated Farmers is concerned that actions taken by local government to reduce non agricultural emissions will result in more costly services paid for by general rates on either land or capital value.
"It makes good business sense for Local Authorities to make more effective use of their rates through improved energy efficiency," Mr Polson said. "Ratepayers should be questioning any Council that is not making this effort to reduce costs and emissions."
ENDS

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