By Peter Wilson
Parliament has passed the Government's latest climate change bill amid Green Party accusations that it has given up on reducing New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions.
The Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Bill changes the emission trading scheme (ETS), delaying the introduction of some industry sectors to the polluter-pays regime and giving agriculture an indefinite reprieve.
It passed its third reading 61-58 on Thursday after Climate Change Minister Tim Groser said it struck the right balance between New Zealand "doing its fair share" and ensuring the ETS doesn't impact unreasonably on industries.
The Green's climate change spokesman, Kennedy Graham, says the ETS is now so weak it's pointless.
"Are we mad, are we so blindingly stupid that we do not see what we are doing," he said.
"I charge Mr Groser and Prime Minister John Key with ecocide... I trust in due course they will stand accountable before the children of this world."
Government MPs said he was being absurd.
"Scientists predict that in a decade's time global temperatures will be 0.3 of a degree higher than they are now - our temperature in New Zealand varies between 10 degrees and 15 degrees every day," said Nick Smith.
Labour MPs say the Government hasn't got a hope of meeting its international obligations now the ETS has been rendered useless.
National and its allies ACT and United Future voted for the bill. Labour, the Greens, NZ First, Mana and the Maori Party opposed it.