MEUG complains $145m free money isn’t enough

The Major Electricity Users Group (MEUG) is complaining that the $145 million of taxpayer money that Nick Smith’s ETS will give them between now and the end of 2012 is simply not enough free money.

You did read that right. Not only will our large industries get a completely free ride in terms of emissions, they will get so many free credits that they will be forced to sell the excess on the market for about $145 million. A free ride plus free money, but still it is not enough.

We won’t throw stones at National, because the first ETS had similar provisions. But Labour’s freebies would have declined to zero by 2030. What Smith took away from big polluters in the early years of his ETS, he gave back many times, all that way out to 2089. Compensating big industry for both emissions and electricity price rises was somthing the Greens fought against, but lost. Nobody else gets compensated for electricity price rises under the ETS, so why should they?

The real question here is whether the Leviathans of New Zealand industry should get any more free money from the taxpayer than they are already getting. My thinking? No way!

15 thoughts on “MEUG complains $145m free money isn’t enough

  1. Well they just gave SCF investors $1.6 billion… so I am not going to put any money on it! :-)
    But it is shocking – the audacity of the MEUG – and the way the National govt. hand over money to the rich time an time again.

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  2. One reason might be because they are trade-exposed businesses that until the introduction of the ETS, did not have to account for carbon. Now they will have to, whereas their competitors will not. It is unreasonable to all-of-a-sudden lump large extra costs onto businesses; better to phase in the costs over a period of years.

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  3. A period of years, sure. The question is, how many years? I think 2089 is incredibly far away, given the urgency of the situation

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  4. “Now they will have to, whereas their competitors will not”

    Maybe we should look at ways to make their competitors pay for their emissions too rather than ways to prevent emitters from doing so. Forcing emitters to pay is THE POINT of the ETS, not an unintended consequence!

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  5. Whereas nommopilot speaks the truth, the problem is the competitors are in other jurisdictions which may or may not have an ETS.

    Though 2089 is a very long way away indeed, we can have no conception of what the world will look like that far out.

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  6. That report sounds like a marketing patsy to legitimise Smith’s and the MEUG’s rort of the ETS.

    The aim being to make it sound as if Smith has pitched the policy about right, rather than the corporate handout that it is.

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  7. @Shane Gallagher 3:26 PM

    Well they just gave SCF investors $1.6 billion… so I am not going to put any money on it!

    Just wait for the next round of benefit cuts, Shane! Paula Bennett has her Welfare Working Group designing them as we speak. One of the excuses National used for the 1991 benefit cuts was that the money was needed to bail out the BNZ.

    It is typical of National – more welfare for corporate investors (most of whom still have a tidy stash squirreled away, even if some of their investments go belly up; but less for the struggling person who is sick, looking after kids on their own, or cannot find a job because there aren’t enough jobs to go round.

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  8. Though 2089 is a very long way away indeed, we can have no conception of what the world will look like that far out.

    No conception? Are you kidding? I just read that if emissions peak in 2015 and decline by 3% per year afterward, we’ll have 4 degrees of warming. That is not only catastrophic, but a near best case scenario, as no one thinks emissions will peak that soon. Yet we can debate decades of subsidies for emissions like it has anything to do with the physical reality we actually live in. We are living in the Matrix.

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  9. the solution to the greedy/grasping power companies is simple…

    re-nationalise the bastards…!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  10. Or at least force a retailer/generator split.

    What non-generating retailers do people like?

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  11. Valis: you’re looking at just one perspective.

    2089 is so far out we dont know what will have happened to the world in the big picture. By then we may have no popuation to make ETS payouts worth worrying about. Or we could have nuked ourselves to death.

    Heck, by then the tall foreheads may even have got cold fusion or even hot fusion going. The latter is only 50 years away, so they say :)

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  12. dbuckley, I talk of catastrophe and you talk of perspective. We clearly understand the facts differently.

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  13. Valis: I think we are actually violently agreeing, on the issue under discussion at least. My original proposition was that 2089 is much too long a time to provide relief to major electricity users, as we have no basis to make that determination for so far ahead. Any relief should be for a vastly shorter period of time.

    In terms of perspective and catastrophe: I see no reason why the world wont be totally borked by 2089. I think we agree on that too.

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