Trans Tasman explains the implications of the Green Party carbon tax policy and the conundrum it poses for Labour:
. . . Dairy farmers who are currently exempt from the ETS will pay a reduced rate of $12.50 a tonne for their pollution. Beef and sheep farmers will be exempt. A BERL economic report released with the policy indicates the average dairy farmer would take a 12.5% hit to their income, and should the milk price fall to around $7kg M/S, about 10% of dairy farmers would be vulnerable. Implementation of the policy would hinge on post-election backing from Labour, which appears at best lukewarm – David Cunliffe is already distancing himself from the policy saying it is Green policy to be negotiated after the election. NZ First leader Winston Peters says he does not support a carbon tax. So it leaves confusion in voters’ minds whether a carbon tax would be a goer.
A policy with such serious implications as this isn’t one that ought to be left to post-election negotiations.
Whether or not Labour would countenance the tax could well influence voters – but maybe that’s why Cunliffe won’t make a stand.
What Peters says he supports and what he would actually support, given the chance, aren’t necessarily the same thing.
But it does confirm the Greens, in placing such a high priority on climate change protection (even though NZ is only responsible for 0.14% of global emissions), want to drive fossil fuel producers out of business, and halt the expansion of dairying. And if Labour has to cosy up closer to the Greens to ensure it looks like a Govt-in-waiting, how will this play out in electorates like the West Coast (where mining is a core industry) or New Plymouth where Andrew Little, with leadership ambitions, will be trying to show he can win a seat? . . .
A party trying to gain only a relatively small proportion of the party vote can afford policies which impact badly on certain areas.
Those trying to win electorates too are much more aware of the negative impact policies which might be attractive in theory have on real people in practice in real life.