Joyce’s Budget a “billion-dollar handout” to polluters

Press release - May 25, 2017
Greenpeace New Zealand’s Executive Director, Dr Russel Norman, has blasted Stephen Joyce’s first Budget for “actively funding” pollution.

Norman says the just-released Budget pours money into subsidising water and climate pollution, and does nothing to address the agriculture sector’s spiralling emissions.

"The Government has already allocated around half a billion taxpayer dollars to subsidise industrial-scale irrigation schemes around the country, which will result in more cows and more polluted rivers. And now it has just proudly announced it will be injecting even more cash into it.

“It’s also subsidising the climate emissions from agriculture to the tune of around $500 million per year, based on the 2016 Budget figures. Agriculture, New Zealand’s largest polluter, is currently excluded from the Emissions Trading Scheme, which means that taxpayers are being forced to foot the bill for the sector’s emissions.

“As a very basic right I’d say New Zealanders deserve a Budget that doesn’t actively fund the destruction of our culture and environment.

“Put it this way: If the only thing we did right now was to stop spending money on increasing pollution, it would still be hugely significant for both the climate and for our long-term economy.”

In practice, Norman would like to see an end to public subsidies of big irrigation and the cut-rate royalty schemes that aid the expansion of the oil industry, as well as bringing the agriculture sector into a strengthened  Emissions Trading Scheme.

“The next step would be for those savings to be reallocated into a strategy that promotes investment in the growth of the clean energy, sustainable transport and ecological agriculture,” he says.