The National Party has warned of the risks of going too far and too fast on climate change measures.
Party spokesman for climate change Todd Muller welcomed release of the draft report by the Productivity Commission on moving towards zero emissions but said it was important to adjust at the pace of available technology and remain conscious of our competitors and the wider global response.
“For instance, bringing agriculture into the emissions trading scheme would make us the only country in the world to expose our industry in this way, making us outliers, not leaders.”
Muller said the commission’s report calls for careful preparation and balance.
“It builds on the significant work undertaken by the previous Government on increasing renewable energy, increasing the number of electric vehicles and reforming the ETS to ensure it is fit-for-purpose.
“National is proud to have signed New Zealand up to the Paris Agreement, committing to ambitious 2030 and 2050 emissions targets. We have done well holding emissions steady through a period of strong economic and population growth, with emissions intensity decreasing relative to GDP.
“We have to reduce emissions significantly to meet our international obligations, but it’s important that we transition in a way that maximises opportunity and minimises costs.
“Going too far too fast could decimate our most productive sectors, costing jobs and actually increasing global emissions. Introducing agriculture to the scheme at the very entry level of 90% free allocation and $50 a tonne would cost the agricultural sector $190 million a year.
He said the more extreme estimates of carbon prices of $250 a tonne and no free allocation would cost the agricultural sector $9.7 billion a year and wipe out the entire industry.
“My concern is that if we push too hard and fast here, we could leave communities behind. The National Party will support the careful preparation and balance needed to ensure a just transition to a lower carbon economy.”