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September, 2008 - Auckland, New Zealand


Reuters, NZ's Carbon Scheme Expected to Survive Election


The fate of New Zealand planned carbon trading scheme, the first cap-and-trade market outside Europe, will depend on the outcome of that country's national election on November 8. If the current Opposition (the National Party) takes government, the carbon trading scheme, scheduled to start in 2009, could face a number of amendments.

Matthew Andrew, head of Minter Ellison's climate change group in Wellington, New Zealand, noted that a National government would likely give key industry sectors more time to reduce emissions: "It would still be a good carbon trading system, there will still be changes to behaviour but it will give certain sectors more opportunity to amend ways they conduct their business."

"[The] National [Party] will perhaps be more generous around the phase-in time to give key industry sectors time to manage their emissions down and find new ways of reducing emissions going forward," Matthew said.

Under The Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill, trading of carbon credits begins in 2009, with all industry sectors, including agriculture which produces 50 percent of emissions, covered by 2013. Those that breach their limit will have to buy credits from users that produced emissions below their ceiling.

The National party has said it would abandon the current government's carbon-neutral policy, aiming for only a 50 percent reduction in emissions from 1999 levels.

"It's more incremental and it's saying New Zealand should be in the middle of the pack, rather than at the head of the pack," Matthew told Reuters.


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