Thursday, February 16, 2006

NZ has a carbon tax - oops, no it doesn't

started this post with the subject up to the hyphen and then got confused when i was googling for more info.
Turns out we were getting a carbon tax until late 2005, and now we're not as of 21/12/2005... and reported in The Age in late Dec 2005.
Do you think anyone is going to notice the flip-flopping? Exhibit 1: The Guardian Unlimited in the UK, you just have to love the prescience of this quote (my emphasis):
New Zealand, which produces about 29% of its electricity from gas- or coal-fired power stations, has a record of introducing the idea of green taxes but then not implementing them. In 2003 the government planned to impose a methane tax on farmers because flatulence of cows and sheep was responsible for more than half of New Zealand's total greenhouse gas emissions. But that was abandoned after criticism from farmers, who labelled it a "fart tax"
If you google for 'carbon tax nz', the first hit is the Climate Change Office saying that we are having one, the second is The Guardian article saying we're getting one, the third is a speech in mid-2005 announcing we're getting one and then waaaaay dooown there at number 4: 'Carbon tax will not go ahead' straight out of the beehive.govt.nz It makes you cringe all the way down to the bone.

The NZ Herald mentions it here, and an op-ed by Gary Taylor didn't seem to think it was a good idea (hidden behind the P-wall, probably why i missed it, i hope the Herald burns in digital hell for that decision - China doesn't let any information in, the Herald doesn't let any out...). Business groups look like Cheshire cats here, spin by the govt here.

I'm glad we're all taking this global warming thing seriously. Now let's not try to feel like hypocrites when we take money from tourists for our pristine environment while we export our environmental impact to China by wearing their clothing and using their whiteware.

OMFG, doesn't anyone else think that making half your money from tourism and not showing that we're serious about the environment is like punching your own bollocks with a hammer? Fisheries, forests, water... how many things have to be eliminated before our glorious leaders start to think about the country as a whole and the shit state we're gonna leave it in for our kids?? huh? anyone?

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starting on 1 April 2007 - a heck of an April's Fool joke.
It's set at $15/tonne and capped at $25 if this proves out of line with intl trends and needs to be adjusted.
The aim is revenue neutral and the cash is to be 'recycled' via a number of routes:

The revenue from the carbon tax will fund part of the cost of a range of tax measures.

The tax measures include:

  • Short-lived assets will be depreciated faster. The threshold under which the cost of low value assets can be immediately deducted will rise from $200 to $500, reducing compliance costs.
  • Investments through financial intermediaries, such as managed funds, will be taxed relative to direct investments.
  • A tax barrier to investment in research and development will be removed.
  • Various changes will reduce costs associated with Fringe Benefit Tax.
  • There will be a temporary tax exemption for various types of foreign income of new migrants and New Zealanders returning after more than 10 years.
  • There will be a subsidy to assist small firms using a PAYE intermediary.
  • Provisional tax payment dates will be aligned to GST periods and estimation of income based on turnover.
  • Personal tax rate thresholds will increase by 6.121% every three years from 2008
As listed in the FAQ.
I must admit i would much prefer to see the carbon tax recycled in a more transparent energy-type way i.e. subsidised insulation for homes, R&D in GHG emmissions and energy production/deployment/use, bio-fuels etc. If there is one thing R&D does, it's recycle cash!!
I suspect that this carbon tax is going to dissapear into the govt ether and we'll all just shrug our shoulders at a couple extra dollars for filling up the tank and then its Business As Usual till 2012.

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