The [New Zealand] Government said yesterday it would probably ditch the rest of the emissions trading scheme as scheduled beyond 2013 if its major trading partners did not have schemes as well.
The scheme, already passed into law, is supposed to be a comprehensive “all sectors, all gases” scheme with a phased-in entry for different sectors.
But the confirmation by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Tuesday that he would shelve his proposed scheme until at least 2013 has forced the New Zealand Government to hedge its commitment to a full scheme.
The Act Party, business groups and the farming lobby have pointedly reminded National that it promised not to be a leader in the ETS but a fast-follower.
They argue that the scheme would impose costs on New Zealand businesses that its competitors did not have.
The New Zealand scheme has a built-in review of the ETS in 2011 – no details of when – and in 2014.
Environment Minister Nick Smith said yesterday “New Zealand would be unlikely to proceed with the full obligations for the energy, transport and industrial sectors and to add additional sectors to the emissions trading scheme in New Zealand if there was not progress in other countries, particularly of trading partners like Australia, Japan and the United States.”