Govt shows pragmatism in RMA reforms and stance at Paris

EDITORIAL

THE environment might be weighing a little more heavily on the mind of Prime Minister John Key than usual after his attendance at the Paris climate change conference and having brought Resource Management Act reforms to Parliament.

The Government was able to get the first reading of its RMA amendment legislation through the House last week but would have been concerned that two allies, from who it might have expected support, voted no.

ACT party leader David Seymour did not support the legislation because he felt the Government was only “tinkering”. Peter Dunne’s opposition was because he had not been consulted on changes to the legislation, which he felt were not coherent.

This left the Government relying on the Maori Party, whose future support is far from guaranteed for a bill and reform agenda the Government has already watered down to appease it — canning plans to include economic considerations in the Act.

Key also faced allegations of hypocrisy over his call for the end of innefficient fossil fuel subsidies, totalling $US500 billion in 2014, at the global climate change summit.

That earned him a Fossil of the Day award from the Climate Action Group and, not surprisingly, criticism from the Green Party whose co-leader Metiria Turei said government subsidies and tax breaks for oil and gas companies amounted to $46 million, based on a 2012 report. However, PWC tax and business leader Geof Nightingale said any specific tax breaks or subsidies for the oil and gas industry had been eliminated.

UN climate convention head Christiana Figueres welcomed Key’s strong line on fossil fuel subsidies. Key also announced that New Zealand will contribute $200m to support other countries, especially in the Pacific, that are threatened by climate change, and will invest another $20m — on top of $45m already invested — in research to reduce agricultural emissions.

While heavily criticised over its environmental record, the Key government’s pragmatism has been on show again.

THE environment might be weighing a little more heavily on the mind of Prime Minister John Key than usual after his attendance at the Paris climate change conference and having brought Resource Management Act reforms to Parliament.

The Government was able to get the first reading of its RMA amendment legislation through the House last week but would have been concerned that two allies, from who it might have expected support, voted no.

ACT party leader David Seymour did not support the legislation because he felt the Government was only “tinkering”. Peter Dunne’s opposition was because he had not been consulted on changes to the legislation, which he felt were not coherent.

This left the Government relying on the Maori Party, whose future support is far from guaranteed for a bill and reform agenda the Government has already watered down to appease it — canning plans to include economic considerations in the Act.

Key also faced allegations of hypocrisy over his call for the end of innefficient fossil fuel subsidies, totalling $US500 billion in 2014, at the global climate change summit.

That earned him a Fossil of the Day award from the Climate Action Group and, not surprisingly, criticism from the Green Party whose co-leader Metiria Turei said government subsidies and tax breaks for oil and gas companies amounted to $46 million, based on a 2012 report. However, PWC tax and business leader Geof Nightingale said any specific tax breaks or subsidies for the oil and gas industry had been eliminated.

UN climate convention head Christiana Figueres welcomed Key’s strong line on fossil fuel subsidies. Key also announced that New Zealand will contribute $200m to support other countries, especially in the Pacific, that are threatened by climate change, and will invest another $20m — on top of $45m already invested — in research to reduce agricultural emissions.

While heavily criticised over its environmental record, the Key government’s pragmatism has been on show again.

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