The government’s handling of the ETS is a total shambles at every level. Even their fans at The Herald are pointing out the elephants in the room:
Another sorry chapter in emissions farce
It is rare that all-party select committees of Parliament cannot agree on some improvements to a Government bill even if some parties continue to vote against it. The failure of the finance and expenditure committee to agree on practically anything in the Climate Change Response (Moderated Emissions Trading) Bill is another ignominious moment in the passage of this backward legislation.
The committee’s failure can be blamed partly on the ridiculously short time it was given to hear public submissions and study the bill. Submissions closed barely a month ago. About half of the 300 organisations and individuals wanted to speak to the committee. They were given about 10 minutes apiece. The committee had to complete its work by yesterday.
True to form National tried to bulldoze poorly conceived legislation through parliament in a mockery of the democratic process. And it has come back to bite them – not least in the form of a $50bn blunder in estimating the costs. National’s ETS is so bad that the Environmental Commissioner has (diplomatically) called it crap:
‘As it stands, the amendments to the bill virtually guarantee the ETS will not achieve its stated goal of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, so I cannot support the bill being passed,’ Dr Wright, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment said today
Treasury are (ever so diplomatically) calling it crap too:
Conspicuously, and for the first time anyone can remember, the Treasury has refused to endorse a regulatory impact statement for the legislation. The quality of the analysis, it says in the bill’s explanatory note, “is not commensurate with the significance of the proposals”.
National are still determined pass this pile of crap (perhaps by buying off Iwi – see “National’s ETS to include special treatment for Maori“). But that would be no progress at all. Labour has already said that this bill and its $155 billion blow out in debt is unacceptable, and they will repeal it when next in government.
National had a chance to get this right. Labour were working with them constructively to achieve the enduring bipartisan consensus that the economy so desperately needs when National walked away. As today’s Herald editorial continues:
A bipartisan approach to a subject of such far-reaching importance was briefly in prospect after a parliamentary review of emissions trading a few months ago. With all minor parties (even the Greens) preferring a carbon tax to a trading scheme, the Labour Party indicated it would give up elements of its scheme if National wanted a bipartisan solution. Sadly, National did not. John Key preferred to deal with Act and the Maori.
When a true global emissions market begins to take shape, this country will join it. Meantime, Parliament should not waste much debate on this miserable offering to the international effort.
It’s a total bloody shambles and National have no one to blame but themselves.