by Jeanette Fitzsimons
The really interesting question now is, where is National going to get a majority for its amendments to the ETS in the House? Peter Dunne on his own hasn’t got the votes. They need one more party.
The Maori Party’s minority report makes it clear they do not support an ETS at all, and if there is going to be one they do not support intensity based allocation. They have a simple principle: the polluter should pay. So National can count them out. And their good will is at a low ebb anyway after being shafted on the Maori seats on the Auckland super council.
Act has ruled itself out on “principle” – something Rodney says was very important to them on the super council – because their minority report rejects the findings of the IPCC and strongly opposes an ETS. They could with integrity support repeal of the law, but not amendment.
That leaves Labour, who has been in discussions with National in an attempt to find a cross party consensus around the ETS. It has always puzzled me why Labour would negotiate to amend its own ETS legislation which remains law until National get a sufficient majority to amend it. Their minority report rejects allocation on an intensity basis and would accept only a very short term cap on the price. This analysis suggests that they can hold firm and prevent the worst outcomes here if they keep their nerve.
It may be that NZ aligns with Australia more closely than anyone was trying to – by being the second Australasian country to fail to get its ETS through Parliament. In that case, the energy sector will come into the scheme in just four and a half months time, with no allocation plans in place, because officials have been waiting for the amended law to draft the regulations.
Probably a number of us would help them out in this situation by voting to make the law actually workable.
Or am I missing something? Was there a price for National’s capitulation to Rodney over the Auckland Maori seats? Is it possible that this party of “principle”, who campaigned relentlessly last year to “dump the ETS” has done a deal to vote for it – in a dangerously watered down version – after all?