Today’s reduction of transition measures for New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme sets up this year’s important climate change debate, National Party Climate Change Spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“January 1st is a key date in New Zealand’s climate change policy as we take the next step in removing the one-for-two transitional measures for Kiwi businesses,” Mr Muller says.

“From today the 67 per cent surrender obligation for emissions units for 2017 increases to 83 per cent in advance of a full surrender obligation for all sectors in the New Zealand ETS from 1 January next year.

“These changes set the scene for this year’s debate on climate change when the new Government intends to re-visit New Zealand’s climate charge targets and set up an Independent Climate Commission.

“It’s important that new Minister James Shaw ensures the significant climate change discussions that await both Parliament and communities across New Zealand this year are anchored in sound evidence and supported by considered reflection, not adversarial rhetoric.

“Today’s changes confirm the Government does not enter this debate with a blank sheet, but a detailed series of actions already committed to by the previous Government.

“The phasing out of transition measures is one of a raft of actions the previous National-led Government had underway in order to meet its commitment to the Paris Accord and head towards the demanding 2050 target of 50 per cent fewer emissions than our 1990 levels.

“An informed discussion on further ambition to current targets may well have some merit, but it must be characterised by acknowledgement of the progress already made, and a dispassionate evidence-based assessment on how change will impact day-to-day lives of our people.

“We will not progress a useful nationwide discussion on climate change if politicians quickly move to partisan defence of either their record or their ambition and cloaking their respective arguments with the perceived failures of each other’s visions.

“I welcome this year’s climate change debate,” Mr Muller says. “But it must be informed by the best available science and practice, and continue to have the feel of proportionality.

“The National Party is up for it, I hope the Government is too.”

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