I’m always in two minds about making submissions on parliamentary legislation. Is the time spent worthwhile when the government of the day won’t want to change the legislation anyway?
However, I have made a submission on the Zero Carbon Amendment Bill because it’s just so important and the legislation is so hopelessly compromised.
Submission on Zero Carbon Amendment Bill
1. We are pleased to have the opportunity to make this submission because while we support the aim of the bill, we are deeply concerned it does not have a plan or the accountabilities needed to achieve its goal. An aim without a plan or accountabilities means the goal becomes “aspirational” – the goal you have when you don’t have a goal.
2. The setting up of a Climate Change Commission to “advise and support the government to reach the targets” is a valuable mechanism as is the setting of emission budgets every five years to act as “stepping stones” towards the goal of zero emissions by 2050.
3. However, without mechanisms to hold the government or the agricultural sector to account there will be relentless pressure from farmers and businesses to “kick the can down the road” in which case the goal will become unreachable and irrelevant.
4. We have already seen something similar on a global scale after the Kyoto Protocol was implemented. By 2011 some countries and areas, including the European Union, were on track to meet or exceed their Kyoto goals. However, the biggest emitters, The United States and China, increased their greenhouse gas emissions and wiped out the combined reductions of all other countries.
5. Under the bill as proposed, and with our current policy settings, it is conceivable that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by other areas of the New Zealand economy will be wiped out by dairying. This is possible because the bill has no enforcement mechanisms – only the pious hope that dairy farmers will play ball.
6. In any case the planned reduction in methane gas emissions from dairying is a pathetic 10% reduction by 2030. This is unjust and unfair. This means this means the rest of the country are subsidising the dirtiest industry in New Zealand to the tune of more than a billion dollars per year. In the 1980s we subsidised farmers through SMPs (Supplementary minimum prices – meaning if market prices dropped below the SMP then we together paid the farmers the difference) In current times we are subsidising farmers to degrade our planet. Unbelievable.
7. As it stands this bill has a flashy outside but no substance on the inside – like a hollow Easter egg.
8. We urge the select committee to insist a basic plan with enforceable accountabilities is included in this bill to meet the expectations created by the name of the bill.
9. We would like to be heard on this submission.
Submissions on New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Bill close at 5pm on Tuesday 16 July – make your submission here.