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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

SIMON COURT (ACT): Thank you, Mr Speaker. It’s true that New Zealand has to do its bit on climate change. That’s why ACT says we’re already on our way. The emissions trading scheme (ETS) is sufficient. It puts a price on carbon: $76 a tonne is the latest price. What that means is that if you operate a truck or if you drive a car, or say you drive a really, really big truck—a truck and trailer—and you haul logs or you haul rock and you’ve put 500 litres of diesel in the truck, you’ve paid $100 towards reducing your emissions. You’ve offset your emissions under the emissions trading scheme. There’s never been a better incentive to reduce emissions, save fuel, and save energy than the cost of paying for carbon under the emissions trading scheme.

That’s why the ACT Party says that none of the policies adopted by this Government or proposed by Minister Shaw are necessary. They’re completely unnecessary. The emissions trading scheme is enough.

The other problem with the policies proposed by the Minister is that not only is it unnecessary but what he’s proposing to do with his emissions reduction plan is interfere with productive sectors of the economy like transport, like freight, there’s a proposal in there to get involved in buying trucks for the trucking industry. Well—

Hon Michael Wood: They love it.

SIMON COURT: Minister Wood over there, he suggests that the industry loves it. But the problem is that every time a Government stands up and says, “I’ve put my hand into a taxpayer’s pocket to give to another taxpayer.”, they’re undermining the very reasons that New Zealanders get out of bed in the morning to go to work, and that’s the difference between the ACT Party and every other party in this Parliament which supported the zero carbon Act. ACT would not support the zero carbon Act because it’s completely unnecessary policy.

Chlöe Swarbrick: That’s because you didn’t turn up.

SIMON COURT: We do not support initiatives—Ms Swarbrick—to get involved in people’s businesses by subsidising boilers, by buying trucks for people, or, recently, as the energy Minister, Megan Woods, announced, to buy electric ferries for Auckland Council to compete with another fantastic, longstanding ferry operator, Fullers, who have just bought their own electric hybrid ferry.

Not only is none of this necessary—not only is none of this necessary—but they haven’t even bothered to ask themselves whether this is the least-cost way to achieve emissions reduction. All they’re interested in is “Is there a photo op?”—is there a photo op? That’s why ACT says that it’s not necessary.

The ACT Party says that New Zealanders deserve better. We looked at the “cash for clunkers scheme”. It is 32 million bucks for a trial. The Minister admitted today that he doesn’t know how it’s going to work or how much people are going to get paid, but we’ve worked it out: 2,500 vehicles, $32 million—that’s $12,800 per vehicle. Well, I tried to work out today how much does it cost to scrap a car, so I picked up the phone and I rang a few cash for scrap guys. They said, “Well, mister, if we have to travel a long way, maybe we’ll only give you 100 bucks, but we wouldn’t give you any more than $400.”, and yet the Minister proposes to shell out $12,800 of taxpayer money buying used cars so that he can get a photo op next to a crusher or a shredder, and he won’t be the first Minister in this House to do that.

So what does the ACT Party say? Well, we’ve actually got some really simple solutions. Actually, we think solving climate change is simple. That’s not what the Minister of Climate Change thinks. Here’s how. Here’s a challenge to the other members of this House—here’s a challenge to you. What the ACT Party says is: would you sit for four days a week and reduce your sitting time by 25 percent and, therefore, reduce your flights? Would you put your money and your bums where your mouths are, because that’s what ACT is asking you to do.

The other thing we’d do is give New Zealanders a tax refund from the revenues under the emissions trading scheme equivalent to $1,000 per household so that Kiwi families, who are facing a cost of living crisis, can decide how they want to spend the money that they’ve paid to already offset emissions every time they fill up. That’s what the ACT Party would do: a carbon tax refund from ETS revenues.

We’d also say, “Look, if you’re a New Zealand business and you want to mitigate your emissions, you don’t necessarily have to do it here in New Zealand, where it might be expensive, where land is expensive, and where people are telling you, ‘You’re not allowed to plant a tree here or there.’ Why can’t you go and plant some trees in the rainforest in a country that’s been deforested, where entire species have been wiped out? Why can’t you go and replant the rainforest”—

SPEAKER: Order! Order! The member’s time has expired.