Thursday, October 15, 2009

Climate change: A mockery of the select committee process

Last month, the government's Climate Change Response (Moderated Emissions Trading) Amendment Bill, which guts the ETS and pays enormous, financially unsustainable subsidies to polluters, passed its first reading and was sent to select committee. Submissions to the Committee closed on Tuesday, and on an important bill like this you'd expect the Committee to spend a fair amount of time chewing them over.

Apparently not. Carbon News reports that National will move to have the Committee hear all oral submissions today, giving them just 10 minutes each (and 4.5 hours in total) on legislation which would make the most important change to the economy since the introduction of GST. As for what happens to submitters who wanted to make an oral presentation, but aren't available to do it on two hours notice in Wellington, I guess its just tough shit.

This is a mockery of the select committee process, and it turns any pretence of "consultation" on the changes into a bad joke. The government is simply not interested in people's views on this legislation. Instead it wants to ram it through in as short a time as possible, so it can start writing cheques to its corporate polluter cronies. Which makes you wonder why they bothered having a select committee at all...

Update: I hear ACT is demanding more time for submissions, which means it all comes down to the Maori Party. Will they support democracy or betray it?