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National has no intention of ever enforcing ETS

Written By: - Date published: 8:08 am, July 3rd, 2012 - 59 comments
Categories: climate change, ETS, farming, john key, national - Tags: , ,

As many of us expected, National has no intention of ever enforcing the ETS in the area where it makes the most difference to NZ emissions – agriculture. Key likes to spin our “all sectors all gasses” scheme when he’s posing overseas, but it’s not going to happen on his watch. “Market signals” and “market forces” are things that you use to bludgeon the poor with, they are not things that you apply to your farmer mates.

Here’s a typical piece of utterly dismal reporting on the topic:

Nats soften emissions blow for businesses

No, they abdicate their responsibility for trying to avert an environmental blow which will be catastrophic.

Wary of a backlash from farmers and households a year out from an election, the Government has moved to further soften the impact of its climate-change measures under the emissions trading scheme.

A year out from an election? Backlash from households?

Transitional measures rushed in by National after it won power in 2008 and due to be phased out next year will now be extended for another two years at least – and Prime Minister John Key has signalled that the most controversial among those measures, delaying the introduction of agriculture to the ETS, could be pushed out even further.

Farmers applauded the move and said New Zealand’s ETS remained one of the most punitive in relation to agriculture in the world, even with the delay – but the Green Party said excluding agriculture put New Zealand’s clean-green brand at risk and passed the cost of pollution on to taxpayers.

Mr Key confirmed taxpayers would have to pick up the $80 million tab as a result of the reprieve for business and farmers announced yesterday, but insisted the measures would minimise the impact of the ETS on “households, exporters and employers”.

This is obviously the new spin, but how exactly does it “minimise the impact” on households to have them pay for other people’s pollution? It’s utterly shameless. And as for the cowardly backdown on agriculture itself, how utterly lacking in leadership, how spineless, how completely and predictably National…


59 comments on “National has no intention of ever enforcing ETS”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    A zero budget , but not apparently in paying for farmers carbon outputs

  2. Interesting that a Government that has shown a total disdain for protecting existing jobs, let alone creating new jobs, is willing to sacrifice the world’s environment to allegedly save jobs.

    • higherstandard 2.1

      How is the government sacrificing the world’s environment ?

      • mickysavage 2.1.1

        Climate change is probably the biggest threat the world is facing and National does no more than pay lip service to the issue.

        • higherstandard

          Thanks for that MS, but can you answer the question posed ?

          “How is the government sacrificing the world’s environment ?”

          • mickysavage

            I said the Government is willing to sacrifice the world’s environment and that is by doing exactly, precisely nothing to address climate change.

            • higherstandard

              So how does the government doing nothing sacrifice the world’s environment ?

              What should the government do to save the world’s environment ?

              • Draco T Bastard

                As we’re working in a market economy the government needs to regulate to ensure that all costs are properly covered. Pollution and GHGs are a cost and thus need to be covered.

                • higherstandard

                  Unintelligible political wankspeak DTB

                  The question was for MS and it was …..

                  “How does the government doing nothing sacrifice the world’s environment ?”


                  “What should the government do to save the world’s environment ?”

                  • RedLogix

                    What I love is how righties are all for “price signals” and “market mechanisms” when it suits them….

                  • I know HS.  Your next question will be that as NZ contributes so little to the world’s GHG generation how can it matter what NZ does?

                    All that I can say is that if we do not pull our weight in what has to be a world wide effort we can have little expectation that any other nation will pull their weight. 

                    • higherstandard

                      “All that I can say is that if we do not pull our weight in what has to be a world wide effort we can have little expectation that any other nation will pull their weight.”

                      That’s fair enough, but it certainly is some way away from the government doing nothing is sacrificing the world’s environment.

                      As you know our GHG emissions profile is quite unlike most other countries with quite a skew towards methane. I would have less of a problem with an ETS hitting this area of our economy if it were a level playing field with every other nation pulling their weight.

      • No, It’s nuffin to worry about. It’s all a big have like Y2K.
        Google James Lovelock.

        • Kotahi Tane Huna

          Monique Watson I googled Lovelock, and it turns out he has not published a single paper on Climatology. Not one. You are so full of shit.

        • felix

          Y2K was a “big have”?

          Jeez Monique, Y2K was a real problem and it was solved. It didn’t affect you precisely because engineers, companies and governments all over the world cooperated to avert a potential disaster, exactly the opposite of what you’d have us do now.

          If they’d listened to people like you instead, the potential disaster would’ve been allowed to occur. Because you managed to find a mathematician who said that 2+2=5.

    • Rob 2.2

      Why do you think  adding cost and tax reduces polution?

      • millsy 2.2.1

        The less they pollute, the less they will have to pay. Simple really.

        Or are you one of those people who thinks that poisoning our air and water is OK?

        • Rob

          So they keep polluting and pay more tax, great initiative Millsy.  Net result nothing changes.

          As for your second comment ,pfffft.

          • millsy

            Whats your suggestion then? Let them pollute? Cool.

            • Rob

              You know Millsy , if you had left your answer to the first sentence, then I might have engaged with you, but you just decided to assume and fill in the blanks yourself.

              If you think taxing more will reduce overall net pollution then i think you are wrong.  It will probably result in even more off shoring of what is left of NZ’s manufacturing environement.  The way this stuff shifts is not announced by massive closures or huge layoffs.  It is in the continual reduction in local made parts and processes that  restructures many businesses from being fabricators, assemblers & marketers to warehouse / marketing organisations buying in locally designed but off shore manufactured goods.

              • millsy

                Good to know that businesses want to pollute then.

              • prism

                You should consider the matter of moving on environmental change from these viewpoints-
                1 a probability of a critical and then hostile approach to NZ lack of action on pollution limitation and diminishment and
                2 country-wide amounts of pollution from transporting our exports from the end of the world to our far markets and
                3 from aware and demanding buyers of primary products overseas such as supermarkets not buying any more our 100% pure and greenwash, and
                4 from a use of economic levers whereby a mix of higher taxes and costs cause emitters to make a shift to systems that would avoid these costs, and also there is introduced tax relief on the cost of changing and the new systems required.

                You are getting mixed up with the problem of diminishing jobs and the likelihood that higher costs from pollution controls will increase this. The stick and carrot approach to taxes will help with this. But jobs will be lost and lifestyles decline more in the future if we don’t here in NZ take action that is clever and forward thinking. In the meantime jobs will continue to be lost in the short time because of the way that the free market has been allowed to lay waste to otherwise thriving economies and the recession that this sh..tty system has engineered that is a result of criminal negligence.

                Meantime the climate continues to decline – important interview on this a.m. Radionz about 8ish and also one on the result of NZ not doing anything but constantly delaying acting from this wishy-washy government.

                • Rob

                  What about this for another way and I will use tertiary ACC assesement levels for OH & S.  So we have a manufacturing plant employing 100+.  4 years ago we talked a lot about H & S , but people were still getting hurt and were unwell etc.  So we really engaged on a new way – lean maufacturing etc driving great efficiancy and healthier outcomes.  It cost usd with people, processes and technology , but it works and we are fitter and healthier as a result.  We also get audited yearly by ACC and are accredited therefore saving on ACC premiums.

                  The rational being is why are not good businesses rewarded and incentivised for change, rather than just been made to be less effective by an additional cost burden, which if they work really hard at they get to go back to where they were.

                  These people are not the enemy , believe it or not.  These organisations provides many great things for the people engaged with them. 

                  • prism

                    I think we agree on the idea of incentivising business to do what is right – what is needed. That’s what I was trying to suggest – giving a price signal as Tom Gould refers to, with taxes that encourage change to a better system. Plus, this would be essential, assist the business to do this with tax reductions grants etc to help finance that change which will enable the business to continue in a new advanced environmentally improved approach and continue employing NZs in NZ so everybody wins.

                    It is achievable but someone with brains that can climb out of the bunker that NZ pollies and advisors are presently skulking in is necessary.

                  • These people are not the enemy

                    Who said they were?   The problem is that to much GHG is being produced and the world needs to get serious about it.  Businesses work on market economics.  All that the ETS does is introduce a market signal.  It is amazing that businesses think that market signals do not work.  

                    Or is it only when it costs them that they do not work? 

              • Tom Gould

                Rob, you are just being silly. It’s called a price signal. Key often uses the term. Look at his tobacco tax. It goes like this, according to John. Hike the tax, hike the price, buy less smokes. Just like pollution. Hike the tax, hike the cost, pollute less. Pretty simple really and can be applied to just about any circumstance to your best advantage. Except when you can get the taxpayer to pick up the tab. Then it becomes hike the price of polluting, fewer farm profits, poorer farmers, fewer votes. It is really pretty simple, Rob. Just adjust the logic to fit, the brain dead MSM will report it as undeniable fact, and bob’s your uncle.

                • Rob

                  You know Tom, I dont think price has been the driver of people smoking less, I think the change is societal, a little like P addiction now comming down from the growth curve, as it is not acceptable now to sit in a bedroom at parties and smoke a glass pipe, it really did use to be seen as edgy and a little cool when people were not fully educated on the whole P addiction thing.

                  All I see with these continual cost increases with smokers is boiling frogs.  They sort of recognise that the heat is going up, but really do not do anything about except moan about the cost while they stand outside buildings, shivering their pointy bits off.

                  • prism

                    Every time the price of tobacco goes up the quit organisations report a rise in clients. I think this can only work for a while though. I think that the idea is to go on till the cigs are $20 a packet. Seems crazy and puritan and doesn’t bring the economic view which would bring up the use of substitution. It might be better to have some smokers doing so legally at a fairly high price than substitution by other, worse, drugs and also not have a high price floor encouraging illegal non-tax paying suppliers coming in with lower prices at street level.

                    So incentives and disincentives should think along both economic, business and human behaviour lines, with moral hazards considered (in environmental matters this could be finding cheaper ways giving the appearance of following legalities which are ineffective or just a scam for appearances). So important, is to get away from the idea of non regulation, voluntary regulation, industry-choice regulation but have legalities and controls which are discussed through nation wide meetings and then, on the bill produced, through select committees, and ensure that it includes a monitoring system that is not captured by the interests being monitored (moral hazard, human behaviour concerns again).

              • Draco T Bastard

                It will probably result in even more off shoring of what is left of NZ’s manufacturing environement.

                And we could work with that by putting tariffs in place to prevent importation of goods made in locations that don’t have either an equivalent ETS or tax.

      • prism 2.2.2

        Rob at 9.10 a.m.
        Why can’t you spell pollution? Why not answer your own question by reading information then discuss on this blog from an informed viewpoint you time waster.

        • Rob

          I dont know why I cant spell pollution Prism and I dont think that adding extra costs and tax will reduce pollution at all.

           So Prism what do you do if you are an expert on everything pollution, I am really curious?

          • prism

            See mine at 10.02 a.m. I am not an expert but have tried to inform myself. Why don’t you.

      • Colonial Viper 2.2.3

        Because I believe in market and price signals. Don’t you?

      • Kotahi Tane Huna 2.2.4

        “Why do you think adding cost and tax reduces pollution?”

        Because of the improvement in air quality in the USA. Just one example.

  3. BLiP 3


    Not surprised. Give John Key and his National Ltd™ business buddies a “trading scheme” . . . of course they were going to game it, that’s all they know. The cowardly backdown came from Labour when it should have imposed a Carbon Tax. And banned Genetically Engineered foodstuffs. And closed Pike River. And, and, and . . .

  4. marsman 4

    Welfare for farmers. Drug test farmers.

  5. prism 5

    John Key is so concerned about jobs!! Some long term factories closing down recently that have been adding value to our primary product – what is Jokey Hen doing about that? He could use his understanding of international trade and economics to do something to limit volatility in our exchange rate away from us buying and selling our own currency!

    But no, this guy is a talking parrot for National’s business backers. He is as real a Prime Minister as a cardboard erection of a police car or person. Time weathers the thin film with the image on it till the cracks show the base material underneath. We can see this now with King John of Charmalot.

  6. Blue 6

    The party for business and farmers decides it will tax everyone but business and farmers? I’m shocked.

    All sectors, all gases is ashpirashunal.

  7. Do you think it is a great look for Gareth Hughes to be heading off Business Class on the speakers tour, feels like “do as I say not as I do”? Squeeze into Economy Gareth; a little less Carbon is burned back there with the unwashed masses.

  8. captain hook 8

    its all just some huge nocturnal emission!

  9. Dv 9


    >>More than 2,000 temperature records have been matched or broken in the past week as a brutal heat wave baked much of the United States, and June saw more than 3,200 records topped, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says.

    Thats good news. ONLY 2000 temperature records broken in a week.

  10. ETS is bollocks, we are gone burger regardless of what we do.

  11. MrSmith 11

    Federated Farmers chief executive Conor English, will be pleased, yes that’s Bill English’s Brother. This lot are beyond contempt.

  12. jack 12

    IF New Zealand didn’t exhist, there wouldn’t be any change to the pollution. I think the ETS is a scam to make a lot of money for certain people. Infact, Carbon trading will be worth more than trading oil. What you people don’t seem to realise is there is a receission and the average family can’t afford the increase in cost of living it will create. I am for tax credits for electric cars or creating another alternative for the combustion engine. I hear a Stan Meyers ran his car on water.. by product is water. Unfortunately, he’s dead. But instead of looking at the politics of this scam, why not create a way to convert cars on other source of energy. Too much hypocracy with the ETS. Is pollution the real cause of global warming?? There isn’t any proof of this.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      What you people don’t seem to realise is there is a receission and the average family can’t afford the increase in cost of living it will create.

      You obviously don’t understand pricing signals. The whole point of increasing the cost is that the resource gets used less. One of the pricing signals is, of course, wages. If wages aren’t enough to cover expenses of the workers then it’s obvious that that workplace should disappear.

      Is pollution the real cause of global warming?? There isn’t any proof of this.

      Better than 90% probability it is and yes there is. Listen and read what the climatologists tell you and not what lord monkton and other deniers say.

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      IF New Zealand didn’t exhist, there wouldn’t be any change to the pollution.

      So we should fully clean up our waterways instead. Because then there would be big beneficial changes in pollution for us.

      (BTW it would sort out our GHG emissions too).

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 12.3

      “Is pollution the real cause of global warming? There isn’t any proof of this.”

      Is pollution the cause of AGW? Yes. CO2 creates a dipole when it bends and stretches (like three snooker balls connected by two springs). What does a dipole do when it moves through a magnetic field?

      “There isn’t any proof of this.” Someone has been trying to confuse you, and it looks like they’ve succeeded: science deals in probabilities, not proof, which is the province of mathematics.

      I would prefer a direct tax on carbon emissions to the ETS, but it has to be acknowledged that cap-and-trade has been very successful in improving America’s air quality.

  13. muzza 13

    The game is communicating
    climate change; the rules will
    help us win it.

    –Maybe you can ask these guys to bend a few ears!

  14. Julian 14

    I am a large scale farmer who tentatively supports the ETS scheme, has its flaws. What I do support is changing the way our nations farmers feel they must farm, wasting energy in fertilizer production, transportation to far off lands etc etc is unnecessary and foolish. Tax those wasteful farmers so they are forced into alternative farming methods and markets with low energy input requirements. These wasteful farmers are destroying our beautiful country !!!

    • mike e 14.1

      couldn’t agree more Julian.I have visited many farms over the last 10 years i haven’t come across one well managed farm!
      Most 90% of these farms mainly dairy are very poorly run.
      Problems listed .
      Very poorly trained farmers especially in personnel management.
      Poorly trained staff nearly all dairy farms have not invested in staff training to cut costs.
      So the down stream effects are huge loss’s in productivity.
      Animal management is bordering on Neglect and abuse on most of these dairy farms.
      Pollution control happens occasionally.
      Farm workers are treated like Korean fishing boat slaves over worked never paid for overtime.and worked into the ground.
      Dairy farm production needs to be regulated just like the fishing industry.
      I would mean more profitability for these farms as better use of resources would occur .
      Most farms would increase their profitability by at least 50%.

  15. Blue 15

    I also think the ETS is “bollocks”. For the reason that it will not prevent 1 gram of carbon getting into our environment. If a carbon producer wishes to conitue to add produce execessive emmsiions, they can continue to do so as long as they purchase an off-setting carbon credit. At best its neutral. It will merely add costs to those that do, and these will be passed onto the consumer, many of whom will be low and middle income earners and it will impact them more harshly than anyone. Surely there are better ways to address this issue with smart environmental and industrail legislation that is not financially punitive to the consumer. Things are tough enough. There is no incentive to reduce emmission from an ETS, unless we legislate on maximum emmissions, pollutants etc that go into the environment and rigourously enforce these provisions.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 15.1

      If what you say is true, how is it that air quality in the USA was improved by exactly the same market mechanism? Your logic may sound fine to you, the problem is it fails the reality check.

  16. spammer 16

    I thought the whole reason John Key delayed implementing the e.t.s on farmers was because they had no viable way to reduce the methane output of cattle?
    As far as i can see they still don’t. It’s all well and good saying making them pay more will reduce emissions, but how? Fertilizer/nitrogen pollution could be reduced but that has nothing to do with greenhouse gases.
    The only way i can see to reduce these emissions is less cattle which is obviously not economically viable for farmers.
    I would be happy to hear of solutions though.

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