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HDPA: Emissions Trading Scheme backdown will disappoint coalition voters

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 4:45PM
Farmers may be annoyed, but not as much as Labour and Green voters, writes Heather. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Farmers are getting off lightly.

News came out today that they will be forced to join the Emissions Trading Scheme, but they will get a massive discount of 95 per cent on their emissions, which means they’re only paying 5 per cent of what they should be under the ETS. 

Now, I’m sure there will be a lot of farmers squealing about this, but quite frankly, this is getting off lightly.

This government was always going to have to force farmers into the ETS. If it didn’t, it wouldn’t have any credibility

Remember, this is the government whose Prime Minister declared climate change the nuclear free moment of her generation. So how could they ever justify leaving out of the ETS the biggest emitter in the country?

Especially when agriculture is the single biggest emitter in this country, contributing 48% of emissions/  

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased for farmers that they’re not getting slammed with this tax. We need farmers, we need their products. They are, as we all know, the backbone of this country.

Without farming, it’s hard to pay for roads and schools and hospitals and all the other things we need. There’s no benefit in crippling an industry with a huge cost like this.

But I’m sure they are going to squeal, and before they do, if might want to remind themselves of what it feels like to be really punished. Take a look at what happened to the oil and gas industry. 

There is though a group that does deserve to be angry today, and that’s the Green Party and Labour Party supporters who voted this government in thinking it was going to do something significant about the climate change emergency.

This is a government that is happy to call climate change an emergency, but they’re not acting like it is.

Not only has the government walked away from properly including the agricultural industry in the ETS, but it’s also abandoned it’s own target of 100% renewable energy. That was an absolute commitment only a few weeks ago.

This Government was going to be coal and gas free by 2035, doesn’t sound like it anymore.

The Government says it “won’t die in a ditch” over the last few percentage points. But this is a back down, a huge one at that.

It is welcome though, those last few percentage points were going to push up electricity prices ridiculously. 

So, if anything we can praise this Government for a spot of pragmatism. And, if you’re a grumpy farmer today, just remember, it could have been worse.

At least you’re not as grumpy as the Green and Labour voters who thought this Government was going to go a lot harder than it has.

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