Labour quits climate change talks

A furious Labour Party has quit crucial climate change talks because the Government has made a deal with the Maori Party on legislation to set up an emissions trading scheme.

Labour and the Government were negotiating a "grand coalition" agreement on an amended emissions trading scheme (ETS) but in a surprise move yesterday Prime Minister John Key announced the Maori Party was National's ally.

That means the Government has 63 votes -- a slender majority -- to pass the legislation and doesn't need Labour or the other minor parties to get it through Parliament.

"This is a total breach of good faith," Labour leader Phil Goff told NZPA.

"We were in the midst of negotiations and they have reached a separate deal, without notice, and that can only be seen as a breach of trust."

The Government said it still wanted to talk to Labour so it could gain wide cross-party support but Mr Goff said that wasn't going to happen.

"I regret that negotiations entered into by Labour in good faith, at the request of National, have ended because of bad faith on its part," he said.

The Green Party was just as angry as Labour, but for a different reason.

It said changes to the ETS legislation agreed between the Government and the Maori Party meant New Zealand was going backward while the rest of the world was going forward.

"We will be committed to big handouts to big polluters for the next 40 years, in exchange for a few small concessions in the short term," said MP Jeanette Fitzsimons.

"The Maori Party used to say that the polluter should pay and now they say that polluters should get paid -- when will they stand up for what they believe in?"

And ACT, the Government's partner party, said the deal would impose "massive costs" on ordinary New Zealanders.

"The Government needs to be honest about what deals are buried in the details," said ACT leader Rodney Hide.

The new ETS, which the Government was to pass by December, will halve the cost of power price rises and give polluting industries an easier ride and longer to adjust through taxpayer subsidies.

Climate Change Minister Nick Smith said the changes would reduce the impact on households and businesses.

The previous government passed an ETS just before the election, but National put it on hold and reviewed it.

It had been discussing the amended version with other parties, seeking a solid majority in Parliament for the bill.

An ETS puts limits on the amount of greenhouse gases different sectors of the economy can emit.

Those that exceed their limit have to buy carbon credits from those under their cap, or from those who plant trees.

Dr Smith said the changes meant the cost to the average household through power and petrol price rises would be about $165 a year compared with $330 under the ETS passed last year.

Mr Goff said those figures were "utterly misleading" because the same Kiwis would have to foot the bill through higher taxes, effectively subsidising emitters to keep polluting.


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Phil Goofy- talk about good faith, then ask the Maori Party about the last cab off the rank- I say up your nose!!!

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Since when was carbon dioxide a pollutant?
It is an essential trace gas, vital for biodiversity and green life on our planet.

With regard to the ETS, the only hope is that there is provision in the bill to unwind it when the whole anthropogenic climate change hypothesis is revealed as nothing more than that: a hypothesis, and a flawed one at that.

The good news is that because this issue is science-based, the scientific facts will come out in the end, and Western developed nations and their taxpayers will not have to feel guilty and pay exorbitant additional taxes as penance for supposedly changing the climate of the planet.

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Good to see that Goff is grandstanding as usual. This really isn't news; it's like a press release from the Ministry of the Blatantly Obvious. He's 'ready to talk' about something the Government doesn't want yesterday, today he's 'quit crucial climate change talks'. Having a competent, let alone good, opposition is fundamental to democracy, and Labour seem to have decided to throw in the towel. As someone who generally supports ACT / National, I'm not entirely sure whether I should be celebrating or worried.

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When will Labour & imparticular Phil Goff realise that Labour is no longer in power? National continue to show that the coalition they have formed is stronger than ever and continues to provide certainty for NZ. Labour had 9 years in power, they should have used that time more wisely.

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When will people realise that Goff has a job to do as leader of the Opposition. He is already demonstrating by making the news so often and consistently that he is performing this. This is in stark contrast to the National Leadership that were absent without leave from 99-02. Under MMP it is vital that every cross party deal is fully scrutinised and evaluated as these have become a core by-product of new legislation.

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Goff is nothing. The only thing he is demonstrating is how much of idiot he is. I repeat, Labour had nine years in power, and what did they achieve? They want to get upset because National has decided to pass an ETS scheme into law and move on.

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I think you'll find the Labour Government actually passed an ETS in its final term...

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I applaud Goff's willingness to remove himself as a prime source of eco-dangerous hot air in this debate.

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Didn't the last Labour Party government abandon its coalition talks with the Greens after it got a deal with Winston Peters instead?

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Well if Mr Goff the man for no reasons ,decided to make a stand for GLOBAL COOLING he would get my vote as common sense would prevail ,not supporting convienent Lies from a guy with the name that ryhmes with BORE.

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the whole climate change due to human activity is a crock
legislation should not be proceeded with

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Please, the commentary so far has significantly underestimated the sophistication of this problem.

Costly fossil fuels (and their noxious emmissions) are only a problem if we continue to avoid investment in clean technologies. The "cheap" oil we are currently enjoying does nothing to encourage investment in alternatives.

With all the 'jumping at shadows' in the commentary to this story, may I throw another conspiracy theory in... is oil really scarce at all? Are the assays and oil almanacs simply rigged to produce a false sense of scarcity amongst major consumers?

As far as the peer reviewed papers debate, im my opinion this is pure economic options theory. Humanity cannot wait for empirical evidence of global warming before we act.. it's a bit late by that stage!

ETS is not fair while polluters in other countries go unpunished. Let's get over that. Let's instead think of this legislation (and the 'tax') as a lever to encourage investment for clean, renewable energy which can improve quality of life, and our environment, for the benefit of all humanity.

Namaste. :)

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It is comforting to know that Labour's some mothers do have them .Goffs fingerprints are not all over the ETS stupid as it is i wish JK had withdrawn as well,I am not sure why he proceeded with theETS and yet stymied the anti-smacking referenda results.

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