Climate law change proposed by ACT

Tue, 04 Jan, 2022

“A law change proposed by the ACT Party proposes a much fairer way for New Zealand to meet our climate obligations and will keep thousands of highly paid jobs in our communities,” says ACT’s Environment and Climate Change spokesperson Simon Court. 

“New Zealand has a duty and responsibility to account for our carbon emissions, which are part of a global problem, so it makes sense to allow New Zealand businesses and consumers to access high quality and certified international carbon credits to mitigate our emissions.

“I have put a Bill in the Ballot - The Climate Change Response (Offshore Mitigation) Amendment Bill which will help us ensure this happen.

“The current high price for carbon credits, is set by the Climate Change Minister, and this means that New Zealand made products are forced to compete with cheaper imports from countries which have a much lower, or no carbon price at all.

“For example, businesses that make building and consumer products in New Zealand, and that use locally sourced steel, aluminium, concrete and plastics all rely on carbon as a fuel or feedstock. The high carbon cost is then passed on to the consumer in the form of higher energy costs, higher construction costs, and higher transport costs.

“Imported steel, concrete and plastic pipes, and aluminium products include a much lower, or no carbon cost.

“This unfair outcome is recognised by the Government, which supplies taxpayer subsidised credits to some of those businesses exposed to international markets. Others pay the full carbon price, currently almost $68 per tonne of carbon emitted.

“That is not fair on businesses who must pay the full cost, and neither are carbon subsidies a fair and reasonable use of taxpayer funds, when simpler and more cost-effective solutions are available at no cost to the taxpayer.

“The Government states it will withdraw subsidised carbon credits to meet their domestic emissions targets, which are much more aggressive than the original Paris Accord imagined.

“This is expected to cause “carbon leakage” from New Zealand, a phenomenon where manufacturing relocates to other countries with low carbon prices, and takes the high paid manufacturing jobs with them.

“The aim of my Member’s Bill is to allow for New Zealand to use offshore mitigation to meet its emissions targets. This will ensure New Zealanders fulfil their emissions reduction obligations at least cost or maximise their emissions reductions for a given cost.

“It also combats carbon leakage by ensuring New Zealanders do not pay more per tonne to fulfil their emissions reduction obligations than overseas competitors.”