18 Jul 2008

NZ, Australia agree emission schemes compatible

8:03 am on 18 July 2008

Finance Minister Michael Cullen and Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan agree their proposed Emissions Trading Schemes are compatible.

The ministers held a bilateral meeting in Wellington on Thursday, covering a range of issues - but climate change policies were high on the agenda.

Australia has released a Green Paper on its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, which is planned to come into force in 2010.

Mr Swan says going carbon clean is a growth strategy. If action is not taken, he says food prices will be hit by a climate where extreme weather conditions prevail.

New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme Bill is languishing on the Parliamentary order paper as the Government tries to shore up political support to get it through the house.

The National Party says the Government will put businesses and jobs at risk if it does not align the Emissions Trading Scheme with Australia's and is calling for legislation to be delayed.

It has withdrawn support for legislation to enact a scheme in New Zealand, saying more time is needed to get it right.

However, Dr Cullen says the similarities between the nations' policies undermine National's call for legislation to be delayed.

Business New Zealand says the two schemes are incompatible.

On Thursday, Dr Cullen and Mr Swan also discussed forming a single economic market, a new tax treaty, and agreed to ensure that retirement savings can be transferred between the countries.