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Greens threaten emissions scheme

Published: 6:32PM Tuesday May 06, 2008 Source: ONE News

The Greens are threatening to withdraw their support from the Emissions Trading Scheme following the government's about-turn on climate change.

The Greens are unhappy over the move to defer transport from the scheme for a  further two years.
The government has done that to avoid a new petrol charge that would have increased the price by eight cents a litre.
However the relief for motorists is frustrating for the Greens, one of the government's key political partners.

They say at a time when the demand for gas guzzling cars keeps increasing and New Zealand's roads are choked with traffic, it is no time to backdown on petrol charges.

"It's about the future of our planet and the future of all of us," says Russel Norman, Green Party co-leader.

Norman says there is a cost to saving the planet and the biggest polluters should pay.

"If you are efficient about the way you get to work by using the bus, you're going to be subsidising the person driving the hummer to work," says Norman.

The National Party supports the petrol charge deferral but says New Zealand's international reputation is in tatters.
"Putting solely the environment forward without any concerns for jobs or the cost of living that New Zealanders face is the wrong approach," says National Party leader John Key.

But the Greens are so upset over the decision, that they are threatening to withdraw their support for the Emissions Trading Scheme.

"It is the job of the Green Party to take climate change seriously and push National and Labour to do the right thing," says Norman.

The Greens strong stand is important, given they are not registering in the polls. Last month's ONE News Colmar Brunton poll showed the party with just 3.7% support.

But their stance on the petrol charge backdown allows them to stand out from the pack.

Other politicians are also making sure they are not punished by voters for supporting a scheme that hits hard in the pocket.

United Future wants compensation for households once the emissions scheme comes into effect. The party says costs will soar and people need to know how they will be compensated.

"People need the tax cuts but they also need to be compensated for the increase in costs that will arise from climate change policies," says Peter Dunne, United Future leader.

But National still supports the scheme in principle.

"National will take a considered approach but this whole thing has been a disaster from woe to go," says Key.

The government is also lightening the burden for business by delaying the introduction of pollution taxes.