16 Oct 2009

Parker storms out, furious over last-minute ETS rush

10:34 am on 16 October 2009

Labour climate change spokesperson David Parker stormed out of a select committee hearing on Thursday afternoon, furious at the rush in which the committee was convened.

People who wanted to make verbal submissions on the Emissions Trading Scheme legislation had been told by telephone with, at most, 18 hours' notice, to turn up at Parliament that afternoon for submissions to be heard by the finance and expenditure committee.

Some key players were omitted entirely, including Victoria University's Institute of Policy Studies and its Climate Change Research Institute.

One would-be submitter, Victoria University economist Geoff Bertram, thinks it shows that the Government has already made up its mind about what system it wants.

Federated Farmers was one of several submitters given just a few hours' notice to front up at the hearing.

Its president, Don Nicolson, says he was given no explanation regarding the lack of notice, but understands the tensions that have developed around the parliamentary process.

Green MP Jeanette Fitzsimons left the committee meeting to speak to reporters, saying it was ironic that National had attacked Labour for rushing through the original legislation.

Written submissions will be taken into account

The chair of the committee, National MP Craig Foss, acknowledges it's a rush, but says the bill has to be reported back to Parliament by 16 November.

He says the committee was trying to hear as many submissions as possible on Thursday, and if many submitters did not get that opportunity, then their written submissions would be taken into account.

Labour's finance spokesperson David Cunliffe says the process is a shambles and is under excessive time pressure.