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ETS should be slowed down, review says

Published: 4:00PM Thursday September 15, 2011 Source: ONE News

Households will pay less of an increase for their fuel and power if the Government adopts climate change policy recommendations.

A review has called for the phasing in of the Emissions Trading Scheme to be slowed down.

But the Government stands to lose $700 million in tax revenue if it accepts the recommendation.

Environment Minister Nick Smith released the report 'Doing New Zealand's Fair Share'  today and said the Government would finalise its policy when detailed work on the 61 recommendations has been completed.

Under the ETS, different sectors of the economy are gradually brought under the regime so they pay for their greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy, transport and industry step up to their full obligations in 2013 under current legislation but the report recommends slowing that by phasing them in during 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The report also says the introduction of agriculture, which accounts for half of emissions, should be more gradual than the current proposal to bring it in by 2015.

"This is a good report on which to base future decisions on the ETS," Smith said.

"The report is consistent with the Government's climate change policy goal for New Zealand doing its fair share on this global issue."

But the Green Party says polluters will benefit if the changes are adopted.

"It's bad news for our kids and bad news for our grandkids because it means we're not taking action on climate change," Norman said.

"John Key's Government introduced a watered-down ETS that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by less than 1%.

"Now they want to weaken it even further, and they want the New Zealand taxpayer to pick up the increased tab for polluting industries."

Norman says the Government is prepared to borrow to subsidise the agricultural sector, even thought it is getting high prices at the moment.

"Greenhouse intensive industries like dairy are in a strong position to pay their own way. But this Government will continue to give them a hand-out."

Smith said any future changes to the ETS will require negotiation with other political parties.

 - With NZN/Newstalk ZB