The Taxpayers’ Union is supporting the Green Party’s proposal to ditch New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) in favour of a revenue-neutral carbon tax.
Reacting to the policy from the World Taxpayers’ Conference in Vancouver, Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:
“For us the key questions are whether the Green Party’s policy will result in a simpler, more transparent tax system and whether it will reduce New Zealand’s overall tax burden. From what we've seen to date, it appears the proposals could do both."
“So long as the Greens continue to indicate that money raised by a new carbon tax will be used to reduce taxes on personal and company income, we’re broadly in favour of a carbon tax over the existing ETS. A carbon tax would reduce compliance and administration costs and result in a stable price for emitters."
“New Zealand's ETS is unbelievably complex and the Government keeps changing the rules. For example, last month’s budget included a change to the ETS that prevents forest owners paying their emissions obligation with international units. The move was unexpected and inconsistent with Ministerial assurances last December that non-New Zealand units would not be able to be used in the ETS from mid-2015.”
"Despite including the word ‘trading’ in the name, the ETS is not a good market solution for creating a carbon price. It is more similar to a quota, or licence system that is bureaucratic, inflexible and vulnerable to political manipulation."
“The politician’s willingness to undermine the property rights that the ETS was supposed to provide shows that it’s not fit for purpose in promoting certainty and achieving environmental objectives."
"While we disagree that a stand alone Climate Commissioner is desirable or necessary to duplicate the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, the policy is a step in the right direction so long as it is revenue neutral and existing carbon unit holders are fairly compensated," says Williams.