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Nats to subsidise big polluters by $2 billion a year

Written By: - Date published: 3:29 pm, September 24th, 2009 - 19 comments
Categories: climate change, national/act government - Tags: ,

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”

nickfiredHe 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.”

19 comments on “Nats to subsidise big polluters by $2 billion a year ”

  1. So Bored 1

    Half NZs ETS requirements would be fulfilled if Nick Smiths mouth could be bunged.

  2. Clarke 2

    And to add insult to injury, John Key is being reported in the Herald as not completely impressed with US actions on climate change:

    Mr Key said he had been impressed by Mr Obama’s speeches at the UN and Clinton Global Initiative over the past two days.

    Mr Obama’s speech to the United Nations general assembly was direct and of substance, he said.

    But he was more reserved about Mr Obama’s speech on climate change yesterday.

    Mr Key initially said the president’s presence was important but later said it was disappointing that there was not more substance.

    FFS! What a complete hypocrite! He proceeds to dilute NZ’s already indifferent ETS, hands a multi-billion dollar subsidy to his polluting mates, then has the audacity to be “disappointed” that other people aren’t doing enough to address the very problem he refuses to take seriously.

    What a wanker.

    • Quoth the Raven 2.1

      “Mr Obama’s speech to the United Nations general assembly was direct and of substance, he said”

      “Mr Key initially said the president’s presence was important but later said it was disappointing that there was not more substance.

      Huh? John Key makes no sense sometimes or most of the time. In any event the PR President’s speech was just more waffle without, well, substance.

  3. TightyRighty 3

    If what you say is true about methanex, then that is a pig of a way to go about this. not that i believe in human induced climate change, only my belief that externalities should be internalised as much as possible in production.

    • Zetetic 3.1

      Also on Tighty’s list of ‘things I don’t believe in’:

      – The Higgs boson
      – Peak oil
      – Pop tarts

      • Ron 3.1.1

        I’m not sure I “believe” in the Higgs Boson either. Is it not a theoretical particle, the result of some pretty arcane maths? The LHC is supposed to find it and even the scientists say that can’t guarantee it’s there. I’ll believe it when they see it, I suppose.

    • Quoth the Raven 3.2

      If you think global warming isn’t occuring then logically you’d think that greenhouse gas emissions are not really a negative externality, unless they happen to be harmful to human health as well.

      • modern 3.2.1

        To be a little pedantic… one can believe that AGW is a myth and at the same time recognise that domestic emissions are imposing an externality. The externality is not on the polar bears or Bangladeshis, but on the government’s (the nation’s) balance sheet, thanks to the international agreements we have signed and will sign up to.

        but really, that position would still make one a chump

  4. BLiP 4

    Its all about the new “inside-out” government promised by Blinglish: inside costs are placed outside – inside-government services are placed outside (ie privatisted) – profits privatised, costs socialised – classic National Ltd – the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Get used to it. There’s another two years of this shit to get through yet.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      I used to wonder why we didn’t have a 4 year term, like the yanks do. Now I’m bloody glad that we don’t.

  5. outofbed 5

    Mr Smith isn’t a very nice person is he

  6. Red Rosa 6

    It’s Dr Smith, actually! Where did he get that PhD? The man has a doctorate in science and he rolls out this stuff?

    What a shambles. There are staggering numbers involved here. We heard all sorts of bleating about not ‘borrowing to pay into the Super Fund’ – and here we are borrowing to pay for pollution!

  7. Why cannot I access a copy of the bill?

    What sort of democracy is this?

    • yeah, it’s still not up anywhere. Not on the Beehive site. Not on the Parliament site. It’s a disgrace

      You might have more credibility if you were looking in the right place. The bill was up on legislation.govt.nz within an hour of it being introduced.

      That doesn’t excuse the government’s holding back introduction and refusing to publicise it until the last minute, but it is certainly available now.

  8. sk 8

    This is all completely dispiriting. The Key government is worse than worst case.

    Think about the big polluters.

    Holcim was in ‘Hollow Men’ as a donor. Brash met the whole board. Oh, and on the board now is Simon Upton, who the press now refer to as a climate change guru. Holcim has the worst record in the US of a major company in terms of EPA fines.

    Rio Tinto is locked into to buying in to buying electricity from Manapouri for the next 30 years. They cannot close Tiwai. They are locked in. English spouts nonsense that the ETS could cause them to leave. To where? To China, where they are already corporate non grata?

    So what we have is a government that puts the interests of foreign companies first, with no analysis or thought . .. and is quite prepared to blow up the government balance sheet to do so. It is a complete disgrace.

  9. It’s hard to understand why the National Party is being so stupid…..while thinking themselves to be so very very clever.

    They appear to be pressuring Fonterra to flog part of it self off…..and we KNOW that will go to foreign interests. This would be the death knell for New Zealand, Finally converted into renters in our own land by the government who said they would be good for business. They are good for business…..just not Kiwi business.

    Making taxpayers pay to subsidise polluters owned/controlled by foreign interests would be all the MORE galling. Talk about bleeding out of both ends and the middle.

    I’d be thinking about being off to Australia if the Nats do manage to convert the dairy industry into yet another bastion of foreign indifference to this country.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    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.

    Well, you know how the political right are always saying that government is inefficient and spends lavishly on other peoples money? Well, there you have it, government spending lavishly of our money. Of course, it’s actually only the right wing governments that do this. The left wing governments actually take care of the accounts, pay down debt and save for the proverbial rainy day.

    So, the next time we have a right wing opposition remember that when they tell us that government is inefficient and spends lavishly of other peoples money that it’s pure projection and that they’re talking solely about themselves.

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