John Key's decision to further stall agriculture's entry to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) puts our international reputation at risk and will cost jobs, says Labour's Climate Change spokesperson Moana Mackey.
"John Key is walking away from another target, and the burden will fall on taxpayers. National is burying its head in the sand if it thinks that putting our clean, green international brand at risk won't come at a cost," Moana Mackey said.
"John Key understood the consequences in 2009, when he told farmers that without a responsible ETS and a focus on sustainability, 'The consumers of the world will not buy your products.' He went on to say that 'as a trading nation, we simply cannot afford to get it wrong'.
"People are already questioning how clean and green New Zealand really is and National's ever-changing position adds to that concern.
"Three years ago John Key was firm in his assertion that introducing agriculture to the ETS was non-negotiable: 'You've got no option - if you don't deal with it, you will be punished'.
"Lip service is a poor substitute for leadership no matter how you look at it," Moana Mackey said.
"John Key hasn't been able to provide a credible costing of the changes which initially National promised would be fiscally neutral.
"The ETS was designed as an 'all gases all sectors' scheme. It simply cannot function without our single largest emitting sector - agriculture.
"Stalling progress here in New Zealand to wait on China, the US or other countries is short-sighted. Our economy relies on our sustainable 100% clean, green and pure brand - that is our competitive advantage.
"Taking a stand today doesn't mean that agriculture will have to pay the full cost of their emissions from day one--- under Labour the sector was going to be transitioned in with subsidies --- but what it will mean is a resilient, sustainable economy, which means job security for the sector.
"The position we are in now is not sustainable. We have to live our clean, green brand and waiting on the actions of other countries is a poor way to achieve this," Moana Mackey said.
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