National’s changing talk on climate policy

Update: Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons cornered John Key today on this very issue. See her release and TVNZ story.

The Green Party Tukituki candidate Quentin Duthie is wondering if the National Party is telling different audiences different stories on National’s commitment to climate change, Kyoto and the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). …

“At the Wairoa meeting recently, National candidate Chris Tremain told the audience that National would reassess what obligation agriculture should carry under the ETS”, Mr Duthie said

“Some National Party farmers I talked to at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Show were also quite confident that National would remove agricultural emissions altogether from National’s ETS.

“Also at the A&P Show last week, National party activists told me that National was even considering going as far as withdrawing from Kyoto, which would make NZ an international pariah!

“These positions are at odds with what the National leader John Key is saying to national media, and statements like the National Party’s minority report [WARNING 7Mb PDF] on the ETS Bill [p58-59]:

National does not believe the agricultural sector can or should be excluded from this bill, as it is such a large contributor to New Zealand’s emissions. … National wants to work with the agricultural sector to explore options, including the earlier [than 2013] entry of nitrous oxide to the scheme, so as to encourage better use of modern fertiliser technologies that are available and would reduce emissions.

“In Wairoa, Mr Tremain attacked the Greens for wanting to bring agriculture into the ETS earlier than ETS, yet when I pointed out that so did National according to their minority report, he denied it, despite being on the select committee that wrote the report!

“National is threatened by the ACT Party’s anti-Kyoto anti-ETS stance, which is also anti-science and simply panders to ill-founded fears. ACT seems to have made this a bottom-line for National.

This double-talk is not just in Hawke’s Bay. Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons commented yesterday that: “National candidates have been telling farmers they will never have to fund the cost of their emissions. Many farmers I’ve talked to believe that, under National, New Zealand would withdraw from Kyoto.” She added: “This is not the message John Key has been giving but he needs to come clean and tell us which of his candidates are right about their policy.”

Full statement is here: statement-qd-30-10-08-national-ets

[addition: looks like Greenpeace is on John Key’s case too!]

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