Organised crime scandal shows NZ’s climate policy is a “total bloody waste of time”

Press release - April 18, 2016
On the back of a report released this morning that shows the NZ Government has allowed businesses to buy fraudulent carbon credits from Russia and Ukraine, Greenpeace New Zealand has called for the linchpin of New Zealand’s climate policy to be thrown out.

Greenpeace NZ climate campaigner, Simon Boxer, says the report from the Morgan Foundation is proof that our Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), a policy which allows companies to offset their pollution by buying ‘carbon credits’ from other companies that pollute less, is “nothing but hot air”.

“It’s a total bloody waste of time. The ETS was a policy that was purposefully made to sound boring and dense so people wouldn’t dig deeper into it,” he says.

“But the reality is it doesn’t clean up pollution at all – in fact it actually allows businesses to make a profit from pollution. Under the National Government, this scheme is a scam. It’s a climate crime.”

The Morgan Foundation report, called Climate Cheats, outlines how the New Zealand Government has been complicit in the dealing of fraudulent carbon credits manufactured by organised crime in Russia and Ukraine.

The countries use loopholes in international rules to create millions of false carbon credits that have no environmental benefit, and then sell them at bargain rates to the world market.

The European Union banned trade in these dodgy credits in 2013, but Boxer says New Zealand has continued to use them because they’re cheap, despite our Government knowing they’re fraudulent.

Even worse, he says, is the fact that the use of these credits is one of the ways our Government plans to meet its climate targets for 2020. 

“It’s another excuse for John Key to sit back, relax and do what he does best – which is absolutely nothing. If he was serious about the communities he represents, he would do real-life things like shut the coal burners at Huntly Power Station and promote renewable energy like wind and solar,” Boxer says.

“He would be backing green farming, rather than driving huge and costly irrigation schemes, which industrialise our farms, bankrupt New Zealand’s farmers, and allow our rivers and lakes to become so dirty they could make you sick.

“Most importantly, if he were a decent bloke, Key would not allow our environmental policy to be driven by a scam scheme that implicates us all in the heart of a global scandal.”

The Morgan Foundation report comes mere weeks after the release of the explosive Panama Papers, which show New Zealand’s lax tax laws make it a pseudo tax-haven for foreign companies.