ETS changes inevitable as scheme matures, Groser says

Tim Groser: We can't give complete stability

BUSINESSDESK: Incremental change to the emissions trading scheme is inevitable, especially as global consensus on climate change action emerges and New Zealand's carbon-pricing system is tweaked to adapt, climate change minister Tim Groser says.

"We can't give complete stability. We have to make incremental political adjustments," he said at a blessing and ribbon-cutting ceremony in New Zealand Carbon Farming's Kiernan Creek carbon sink pine forest south of Blenheim today.

His comments coincide with today's deadline for submissions on proposed changes to the ETS, which were promulgated by the previous environment minister, Nick Smith, who resigned from cabinet because of a privacy scandal in his Accident Compensation portfolio.

Already minister for international climate change negotiations, Mr Groser took responsibility for domestic climate change policy after Mr Smith's resignation, along with a new associate minister, Simon Bridges.

"Mistakes have been made," Mr Groser said, referring to the global climate change negotiations process such as the slow acceptance of plantation forests and so-called "harvested wood products" to store carbon for decades, if not centuries.

Rules in that area were not only "fiendishly complex" but they didn't exist yet, said Mr Groser, who spearheaded a major concession for forestry farming countries like New Zealand at the global climate change talks in Durban, South Africa, in December.

"The whole world is trying to feel its way through this revolutionary policy shift," he said.

He will be out of the country for almost a month from next week for global climate change meetings and to advance issues in his international trade portfolio.

But he acknowledged: "Compared to many countries, we are not in a bad space."

More broadly, the government was still trying to find the "sweet spot in transition for this small country in terms of making a commitment" to whatever global climate change treaty follows the Kyoto Protocol, which expires this year without a clear replacement.

Mr Groser would not be drawn on domestic ETS issues, such as the imposition of a cap on New Zealand carbon emitters' ability to buy foreign carbon credits, whose value has plunged this year and also sunk the value of higher integrity New Zealand Units (NZUs) to historic lows this week.

Westpac was offering to trade NZUs at $6.35 a tonne early this week, well below the $12.50 a tonne liability faced by major industrial consumers, and the $25 per tonne price underpinning the government's broader climate change policy.

Capping the proportion of international Carbon Emissions Reduction units (CERs) used when offsetting New Zealand carbon emissions would be expected to underpin the NZU price, but the lobby group Business New Zealand fears such a change signals unwanted regulatory uncertainty into the future.

"It won't be a decision taken by Simon and me," Groser told BusinessDesk. "It will be the subject of immense cabinet-level discussion after a genuine consultation.

"We will allways come down to the same central question whatever mechanisms you want to put in place, is 'how fast do you want to move?'"

However, Mr Groser indicated the government is likely to go ahead with all the compensation promised to so-called "pre-1990" forest owners, since it was only there to protect forest owners from costs which no longer existed.

Thanks to the win in Durban allowing forests to be felled in one place and replaced in another - instead of the previous Kyoto rules requiring unchanged land use - landowners were no longer locked into forestry in perpetuity.

"The money was there because of the existing rules in the first place. People weren't allowed to offset," he said, acknowledging that with any policy change "always creates winners and losers".

The 415ha Kiernan Park Forest is one part of NZ Carbon Farming's plans for up to 20,000ha of company-owned and leased land around New Zealand, where pine forests will be left to grow permanently, sequestering carbon throughout their lives and cutting New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions liabilities, which explode in about eight years.

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The country is run by idiots. This scam has been well and truly exposed.


Like all good cheese, as the ETS scam matures, the smell grows ever more pungent.


Two good comments above. But I don't think Groser will wake up.


" where pine forests will be left to grow permanently, "

Pine forests which never die?

Only in Tim Groser's la la Land.

Wake up Tim: the Emperor has no clothes.


Mr Grosser,
Please note the predictions made in 1999 of the one and only Mr James Hansen of NASA at the link below.
Rather than following Mr Hansen's predictions of rapid increase due to increasing CO2 emmissions, actual temps over the last decade have followed his prediction of what would happen if anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions ceased in the year 2000. Opps.
Only people who are seduced by theories and not by facts, still believe in this AGW nonsense.
NZ needs to get rid of its silly ETS ASAP.


Remember it was the last Labour / Greens government that signed up NZ into an ETS by making international commitments that would have been far more severe by now, if National hadn't won the General Election in 2008 and immediately slowed the ETS down (without being seen to go back on our international commitments). At least this current version of the ETS has been responsible for re-starting substantial forest replanting after a decade of serious decline in forest farming through to 2008 - the stat's are very clear on this. We all know that every debit has a credit - if having a modest tax on carbon provides cash that can be lent up front to help pay for the workers to plant forests (in an otherwise, wait for 20+ years and hope for some sort of return), or can provide funding to help stimulate renewable energy supply, then the ETS (as we currently have it) has done some real good by helping provide real jobs and much needed export earnings for NZ Inc. well into the future!


Good people, the only way this ETS nonsense will go away is if we all give Key notice that we will not vote for a party that has anything to do with the ETS i.e paying $300-mil last year to Harvard University's Pension Fund (and there is no requirement for them to prove they use it in NZ, never mind in growing the weed, pinus radiata) and waiting to hear more from Fat Al and his Gorons (rhymes with?).
Key's a numbers man. Let's give him the minus numbers....and wake him up.
Groser, yet another Brash bad idea -- bureaucrats stay bureaucrats, whatever you might call them, seems to have the unlamented Dr Dick Smith, wiring his lines. Yeah, right.


Groser is only proving that he perhaps spent too much time in the company of the idiot Smith. Latest science news from Germany is a mini ice age is looming all the more real, soon we will need all the warming we can get?


I am so happy to see so many people awake to the scam!

It's amazing what a bit of reading can do.


Smith and Groser have given birth to a massive fraud. Is this a criminal act?


An act of economic terrorism is closer to the mark.

The risk benefit analysis that was promised and never fully done would show the ETS is sabotaging the NZ economy, willfully and knowingly.

Clark, Smith, Key, Groser are all personally liable, to name but a few.


A scam on the greatest scale; an unholy aliance between the radical greens, big business and power-hungry governments. Even James Lovelock, the respected environmentalist and an early proponent of the "Global Warming" scare, is now resiling from his previous position. In his words, if the original global warming theory were accurate, we would all be half fried by now. Drop the whole thing!


Why does an article on the ETS have the same lunacy-inducing effect as pscho-tropic drugs?


I give up: why does an article on the ETS have the same lunacy-inducing effect as pscho-tropic drugs?

Please share your experience with us.


What an absolute bowl of c**p! Anyway, Groser is in love with travel and al that goes with it, and the ETS gives him more excuses to do that, and the more complicated the ETS becomes, and the more BS it has to accommodate, the deeper the bowl. Soon we'll hear : oh well, we were wrong, but we relied on NIWA. Now we can't really undo all the BS we've put in place, because the cost of unravelling all the derivatives and firing all those leaches who have joined up on this fraud are too big to contemplate, oh we'll just have to keep it going..........cheaper than shutting it down. And these geysers will all be too old to remember that they were the ones who got us deeper into the mess!


Just opened the NZ Herald and who should be featured on the front page for travel expenses? Mr Groser in Geneva. These are the "unfortunate" expenses related to all things ETS. Who was the staff member?
As for the Cook Islands, how is it the Cook slanders can buy land in New Zealand, but New Zealanders can't but land in the Cook Islands? Why do they get our passports without a second glance? Why do they get the benefit from day one?


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