National extends carbon emission subsidies
Mon, 02 Jul 2012 6:05p.m.
By Duncan Garner
The Government is refusing to put a date on making farmers pay for their pollution under the Emissions Trading Scheme, even though the agricultural sector accounts for 50 percent of our carbon emissions.
Today it has announced what Labour and the Greens are calling an "extended free lunch" for polluting businesses by extending subsidies for carbon emitters.
Prime Minister John Key says there are good reasons for going slow.
“I don't think it makes sense to put New Zealand farmers at a disadvantage compared to others in the world,” he says.
Australia has introduced a controversial carbon tax, but the New Zealand Government will continue to subsidise emissions from farmers till at least 2015, and maybe later.
Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says it is a costly move for ratepayers.
“It costs New Zealanders one and half billion dollars last year and it will cost more over the coming year,” she says.
The Transport Sector is already in the scheme and we are all paying extra when we fill up. But the Government is now delaying other changes to soften the blow on businesses, which Mr Key says is about jobs.
“We're not prepared to sacrifice jobs in a weak international economy when other countries are moving slowly,” he says.
The Government will extend the discounts or subsidies for businesses already paying for pollution under the scheme.
It will fix the price of carbon at $25 a tonne no matter how high it raises globally, and there will be more compensation for forest owners.
Climate Change Minister Tim Groser says that stability is a priority for the Government.
“This is not the time to put the foot on the accelerator, nor is it time to back the truck up the drive,” he says.
However Labour deputy leader Grant Robertson says the decision means ratepayers will be subsidising pollution.
“Polluters are getting a free ride and New Zealand taxpayers will wear that,” he says.
Environmental groups are critical of today's decision, but businesses and especially farmers are welcoming the changes. They have once again dodged an expensive carbon bullet.
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4/07/2012 8:40:30 a.m.
@David NZ farmers wealthy? They have a lot of money in assets and debt, but they are low income, typically lower income than beneficaries if look at the last 20+ years.Take 2009 where NZ farmers average paid around $1500 in income tax, because they are such high earners! Oh wait, the Labour ideal that revenue = profit that David holds too!Take that there are a bit over 10,000 dairy farmers and your looking at roughly $150,000 in ETS tax for the cows breathing! There incomes wont afford this, so it will be passed onto the NZ consumer as the farmers can't pay it without hiking NZ dairy prices to roughly double.Also we should be taxing forrests and all farm growth. The ETS targets biologicals, but it you have long term growth of plants, and then it composting, it also produces methane. This means that the current ETS penalises like of cows for the methane, while methane production from plants rotting is ignored? Take the biggest methane producer in the world currently - the amazon jungle!If we add biologicals to ETS we should fix the ETS to reflect carbon, not the penalty rate of methane. We should also make it net emissions, which would penalise the worst carbon polluters in the EU, and also target plant growth. If we will tax cows we also need to target all biologicals in NZ, including those on welfare! If we aren't going to give cows money to pay ETS, we sure shouldn't give those on welfare any subsidies either! Hell, the average beneficary in 2009 was better off than the average farmer in terms of income, and the farmers actually work for their living!
2/07/2012 10:18:12 p.m.
Jim Seaview wrote:
Quote: "The Government is refusing to put a date on making farmers pay for their pollution under the Emissions Trading Scheme, even though the agricultural sector accounts for 50 percent of our carbon emissions."What a good sensible decision. The Farmers earn most of the export income for our country. Their pollution comes from cows burping which all cows do naturally - all over the world.Labour & the Greens do not care about our biggest export earners and would just apply their ideallogical carbon taxes to them without regard to their livelyhoods, just so Labour and the Greens can shout to the world how clean & green they are.The USA and China couldnt give a damn, so why should little old NZ worry about it.Bloody timewasters.
2/07/2012 9:53:55 p.m.
Consessions for farmers (some of the richest people in the country).
Concessions for other wealth collectors.
But for 99 percent of us... we are paying their way too.
They destroy... we pay to fix.... sounds fair doesnt it.
2/07/2012 7:27:24 p.m.
If farmers were forced to be the 1st in the world to pay for the right of cattle to breathe, what would it mean for NZ consumers?Well they couldn't get more from overseas exports so that requires collecting the carbon cost here from sales in NZ.NZ has roughly $2 billion of sales of dairy and the carbon cost would see roughly $1.5 billion. So what costs $2 billion now would need to see over 100% increases to cover the carbon tax (and a reduction in consumption from the higher cost). So basically Labour/Greens after complaining about Dairy prices last year want to see NZ paying double current prices for dairy here in NZ. I can see Fonterra adding to its NZ packing a label telling you how much carbon tax the conusmer is actually paying for each bottle of milk or block of butter/cheese so they dont blame the farmers for high dairy prices caused by high carbon taxes.NZ should ditch the current ETS as it is beneficial for nobody but the EU. We should have a new scheme that allows for NZ's pre 1990 forrestry which is currently excluded. We should also have NZ growth rates used not EU growth rates which are almost 4x slower than NZ ideal growing conditions. The EU will never suport a fair ETS as it would hit the worst carbon polluters - the EU!With pre-1990 forrestry and higher carbon soak from NZ growth rates factored in NZ net emissions are around carbon neutral. Anyone who isn't one-eye even more than a Labour supporter at a Labour conference can find this out if they only look for it.
2/07/2012 6:43:31 p.m.
So we are still subsidising the Farming industry to the tune of 1.5 billion dollars, you would think that we would at least get cheaper farm products in NZ as some sort of compensation. Nz export lamb is cheaper in the UK, as is the cost of milk what's going on??
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