Last night, non-government parties finally got a peak at the new emissions trading bill. Nick Smith still didn’t have it finished, it was in draft form, and by all accounts it’s a mess.
As Jeanette Fitzsimons reports, however, the draft ETS did reveal something important. See, on Tuesday Smith tabled in Parliament a bizarre table with no references or sources that he claimed was Treasury’s costing of the subsidies to polluters under his ETS. The weird thing about that table is it just stops in 2017, even though the subsidies will continue for decades.
Challenged on why the table stopped in 2017, Smith insisted he wasn’t hiding anything:
“Cost estimates beyond 2013 are more difficult as we do not know the final outcome of international negotiations and there is more uncertainty about the price of carbon, but the mid-range estimate by officials is that between 2012 and 2018 the improvements will actually save $493 million”
He doesn’t quite lie but he’s purposely misleading. He tried to give us the impression that the government didn’t know how much the ETS’s subsidises to polluters after 2017 would be. In fact, the explanatory information [not yet online] attached to the ETS contains the rest of the table with those future costs. Nick Smith knew the costs all along. He edited the table to try to hide them.
Under National’s ETS, by 2030 we will be subsidising big polluters at a cost of $2 billion a year to keep on emitting carbon. No wonder Smith wanted to keep that quiet.
$2 billion a year. That’s a familiar number. Oh yeah, it’s the typical amount the government is meant to be contributing to the Cullen Fund to pay for future superannuation costs.
So, the government has cancelled $2 billion a year going into our retirement savings (a decision which is costing us $100,000 a day already) and, now, is going to subsidise big polluters by the same amount. Disgraceful.
Funny, how this government pleads poverty it comes to superannuation, public services, benefits etc but their generosity with our money is bottomless when it comes to giveaways for their big business mates. Funny how National showering largesse on their corporate buddies comes before New Zealand doing our part for the environment.
[by the way, National is about to put the House into urgency to pass the first reading of their ETS. Brownlee has pleaded lack of time. Last night, the House rose hours early because it had run out of business due to another Brownlee stuff up]
Update: Fitzsimons reveals that we will pay $1 billion to Methanex over the next ten years, as it increases NZ’s total emissions by 5% – as Fitzsimons notes: “under National’s new scheme, the more they expand their business the more free credits they get”, “Under the Labour scheme Methanex would have paid for their growth. Under National’s scheme, taxpayers do.”