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Future of the ETS

  • May 22nd, 2010


I’ve been thinking about the ETS again, after reading that the Iceland volcano was pouring greenhouse gases into the sky in amounts that dwarf the increases we are trying to forestall.  I asked  MP Cam Calder  how they were answering ACT's challenge – "Why is National not dumping the ETS?

I'd seen Phil O'Reilly's support, which must have taken courage given the unhappiness of some of his members.

Cam has now forwarded Nick Smith’s latest speech on the topic.  It makes superbly the  case for doing what he is doing.


But I can't link to Nick Smith's speech for you. It was delivered to a Hamilton National Party conference on 16 May. It does not appear among his speeches on Parliamentary sites.


The speech answers, in my opinion conclusively,  the question – 'Why is National going ahead with the ETS?'.


I'd surmised that Nick might find it hard to put together enough Parliamentary votes to change the law, for the present. I knew of the absolute determination of Bill English and his colleagues not to repeat their 1990s superannuation surcharge mistake (reneging on an express election promise).

But sticking with the ETS cost increase for NZ business was still puzzling in view of the Australian stall.


Now I have cogent justifications.


 There is an argument Nick does not mention. I think it is sensible to get used to higher priced oil. We buy much of it from people who don’t much like us (or our friends at least).  It comes a long way from a very volatile part of the world.  It is prudent strategically to reduce exposure to potential animus, or at least to experiment with ways in which we could substitute fast if forced to.


National's statements leave them free not to extend the ETS to agriculture generally in 2012.

In my opinion  we could see the ETS convert at least partially to a tax in 2012, with some diversion of the proceeds away from forestry.  They may go toward research into energy efficiency and ag emission reduction.


That is not based on inside information. Just the logic of our needs.





[…] A PDF of the power point slides is here. The ODT and Oamaru Mail reported on the speech and Stephen Franks posted on a similar speech delivered to the Central North Island conference and gives his views. […]

  • Charles
  • June 16th, 2010
  • 5:49 pm

I don't really agree with your statement that "the Iceland volcano was pouring greenhouse gases into the sky in amounts that dwarf the increases we are trying to forestall."
At its peak, the volcano emitted 200,000 tonnes per day, which is about the same as New Zealand's daily emissions…but the volcano only lasted a short time.
The amount of air travel it cancelled is also thought to have offset its emissions, so it was effectively a carbon-neutral event.

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