Thursday, July 24, 2008

Climate change: ...and waiting

It's Thursday, and the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill is still glaringly absent from the Business Statement. Instead, the government will be having an appropriations debate - perhaps in an effort to get NZ First's vote on a confidence matter out of the way before their donations scandal gets any worse.

Meanwhile, time is getting tight. It is now less than four months until the election, and there is a maximum of seven sitting weeks before Parliament must rise for the election (assuming that the final session flows on into the next week, and remembering that Parliament expires on October 7). The ETS will take at least a week to pass, and meanwhile they have a full Order Paper as well as other legislation (the Immigration Bill and the asset forfeiture legislation) which is similarly time-consuming just back or about to return from select committee which they will want to pass before the House rises. There's always the option of urgency, of course, but the window is definitely narrowing. And if its not passed before the election, then we'll have another six month delay, not to mention the very real risk that a national government will delay it further or gut it in order to pander to its polluting backers. And IMHO, that's simply not a risk we can afford to take.