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re: Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill
Kia ora koutou
Firstly, may I compliment you on your decision to seek input from the public to help you to make your decision whether or not to support the passage of the ETS legislation. I have never been a Green voter, nor am I likely to be one in the foreseeable future; however I welcome the opportunity to be able to express my opinion.
Late last year Parliament passed the Electoral Finance Act, prior to rising for the year, and contrary to a range of opinions from both sides of the political divide. The passage of the EFA was rushed, and the legislation has proved to be flawed - and I have no doubt that the two are related. It is ironic that the political parties who were so determined to rush this law through are the ones who have fallen foul of it!
So the the ETS legislation. Time is running short for the 48th Parliament. This is complex legislation, reported back from the select committee with almost 1000 proposed amendments. I do not believe that there is sufficient time for this Parliament to give the ETS legislation the time and scrutiny it requires. In addition, the election campaign has already started, albeit unofficially until the PM names the date. Parliament is charged with pre-election fever, and reasoned debate is likely to take second place to political point-scoring. And make no mistake - this is about politics. It is more about Helen Clark going to the election using this "legacy legislation" to seek a fourth term - for which on current polling she does NOT have a mandate - than it is about good legislation.
I was heartened by toad's post on Chris Trotter's blog last night, especially these paragraphs:
We can always start again after the election, and while I agree that urgent action is necessary on climate change, I don’t think a one year delay in the introduction of an ETS (or even better, a carbon tax, if the Greens can get enough electoral support to get that on the table again) would be particularly significant if we can bring forward the dates that transport and agriculture actually start paying for their emissions in post=eection negotiations.
The other difficulty with supporting a weak ETS is that it is very hard to undo, even if the political climate swings in favour of the Greens. People acquire property rights through an ETS, and you can imagine how some of them will bleat if there are future proposals to legislate over those property rights to implement more effective measures to curb greenhouse emissions.
Toad's comment that a one-year delay would not be significant mirrors my thoughts. Accordingly, I call on the Greens to say "NO" to Helen Clark and Heather Simpson, so that the ETS legislation remains on the lower reaches of the Order Paper until the 2008 election. I call on the Greens to challenge ALL parties to campaign on their policy in this area, and to allow the public to make its choice. Once the election is over, negotiations can start again, involving all those parties who will comprise the 49th Parliament - after all, they will be the ones who bear the consequences of any legislation they pass. Once the dust settles post-election, I believe that there is a genuine opportunity for cross-party consensus, given the National Party's intention to legislate.
The Greens have long sought to be seen as politicians of principle. Supporting the passage of the EFA tarnished that reputation in my eyes, and I believe that is reflected in current polling. You now have an opportunity to stand up for what you believe in, and not cave in to the threats, implied or real, that Labour is making.