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Labour’s plan to meet our Kyoto commitment

Oct 20th, 2008 | By | Category: Features

The Labour-led government faced a lot of opposition getting its emissions trading scheme into law. SARAH CODDINGTON looks at the party policy behind the climate change initiative:

Labour wants New Zealand to be the first truly sustainable nation, and is putting this into action with the newly passed Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading) Amendment Act 2008.

The first stages of the emissions trading scheme will come into effect at the start of 2009, but it will affect the majority of middle New Zealand in 2010 with electricity increases.

The scheme was designed by Labour in line with New Zealand signing the Kyoto Protocol in 2002.

“The Labour-led government believes New Zealand must play a part in the global fight against climate change,” says Finance Minister Michael Cullen.

If another party comes into power after the 2008 election, most of the policies will still be in place. National says they will change part of the policy to include people buying and selling units.

New Zealand First and the Green Party offered their support of Labour’s policies.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand is obliged to make a commitment to reducing greenhouse gasses back to 1990 levels or take responsibility for any emissions above this level if it is unable to make that target.

A $1 billion dollar energy efficiency fund has been promised over a 15-year period to provide assistance in two forms, direct assistance with the increased cost of electricity and targeted assistance that will focus on reducing household energy costs.

Labour is offering a cash-back policy in the first year on the increased price of electricity when the scheme comes into place in 2010.

The rebates will apply to all households in the first year of the increase, and extra assistance will be given to lower income families, beneficiaries and people on the Working for Families scheme.

Interest-free loans to insulate homes with cost-effective heating options will be given to lower income families in following years.

All those on superannuation will also be given allowances.

The businesses and the fishing sectors will get help to deal with higher fuel prices resulting from an extra fuel tax.

The scheme has been put into place because Labour believes that climate change poses a serious threat to New Zealand’s wellbeing. Labour’s view is that New Zealand needs to change its ways in order to survive the future and retain its green image.

“By making far-reaching and strategic changes to the way we live and work, we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions while also maintaining a strong economy and comfortable lifestyle,” Helen Clark has said.

Labour says it is willing to support research on a new technologies and new ways of low intensive farming as a way of helping the country towards being a sustainable nation.

Links of interest:
http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/climate/policies-initiatives/history/index.html

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is a Whitireia Journalism student. She likes films, food and fashion. When she graduates she would like to work as a radio or newspaper reporter.
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