While we’re all aghast over Nick Smith’s shambolic handling of ACC and his ‘people are killing themselves for cash’ comments, let’s not forget he’s also making a total botch up of climate change policy too.
As Marty discovered, National’s ETS will cost us $73 billion in added debt by 2050 and it’s being rushed through at such a stupid pace that no-one knows the details. Even staunch National supporters like Federated Farmers are complaining about the appalling lack of good process and consultation, as this report from Newsroom’s, Marie McNicholas shows:
Frayed Tempers At Rushed ETS Hearings
The frenetic pace set for considering 300 public submissions on the Government’s changes to the emissions trading scheme is fraying tempers on Parliament’s finance and expenditure committee.
Labour ‘s former climate change minister David Parker stormed from a closed session of the committee this afternoon complaining angrily that the rushed process was an abuse of Parliament and MPs who understood the issue could not take part because of other commitments.
Green MP Jeanette Fitzsimons followed Mr Parker out and voiced similar frustrations to reporters as a group of officials waiting to attend the hearings listened in awkward silence.
The first two submitters confirmed they had come at unusually short notice and were unhappy about the haste.
Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson said he learned at 10 am he was to present his submission early this afternoon, while Council of Trade Unions secretary Peter Conway said he was notified by phone last night.
When the committee moved into open session 20 minutes late, after what is understood to have been a rocky session arguing over how many submitters would get to be heard on the Climate Change Response (Moderated Emissions Trading) Amendment Bill, Mr Conway got to speak for five minutes.
He noted it was hard to get through the submission in what was “a rush job”.
“The National Party in Opposition were extremely critical of the last government when after a year of submissions they brought through a lot of technical submissions at the last minute, and you’re really doing worse than that,” Mr Conway told MPs.
Mr Nicolson, who got 12 minutes with the committee, told reporters he was not happy the process had been rushed. “It’s just lucky that we got to know about it,” he said.
The committee had his submission in writing but he would have liked to have had an hour with the MPs to address details in the bill, such as the point of obligation for farm emissions.
The Government has tasked the committee with reporting the 97-page bill it introduced under urgency three weeks ago back to the House by November 15.
Submissions closed on Tuesday and the committee is scheduled to hear submissions into the night.
According to Ms Fitzsimons, 160 of the 300 submitters want to appear before the committee.
The committee would have to sit all hours of the day and night, and the short notice and long hours were not fair to MPs or submitters, she said.
Most bills spend six months before a committee, but the Government wants the changes passed into law before crucial international climate change talks in Copenhagen in December and so it can delay the January 1 entry date for the energy and industrial sectors under the existing legislation.
Climate Change Minister Nick Smith acknowledged that the committee had a tight timetable but said the Government was in a difficult position because it was fighting the January deadline in Labour’s ETS.
The original ETS legislation had gone through a “very extensive” process of submissions, and all the issues had been canvassed again during the special review of the ETS, he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Smith would not comment on the detail of parallel negotiations with the Maori Party over the bill.
The Maori Party provided the majority National needed to introduce the bill but has committed only to backing the legislation to the select committee.
However, Dr Smith said he was not concerned about having the numbers to pass the bill.
“I’m satisfied the relationship is in good heart and we are working through the issues that were raised in the agreement we have reached with the Maori Party,” he said.