Add to favourites
News Local and Global in your language
18th of January 2018

Politics



Government calls for end of fossil fuel subsidies globally, but what are the plans to end them here?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has made a video supporting the Government's call for the elimination of ...

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has made a video supporting the Government's call for the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies worldwide.

The Government has taken to the world stage to call for a global phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies – but independent research claims such subsidies are rising in New Zealand.

Researcher Terrence Loomis, of the Fossil Fuels Aotearoa Research Network (FFARN), claims the value of taxpayer-funded subsidies to the oil and gas industry between 2009 and 2016 more than doubled from $41 million to $88m.

The figures seem at odds with Trade Minister David Parker's decision to co-host an event at a World Trade Organisation meeting in Buenos Aires, at which he called for a global phase-out of subsidies.

Whether or not the Government offers subsidies is a grey area, with an Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment spokesman saying the Government's position was that it did not subsidise fossil fuels, while Parker said subsidies were offered for pre-exploration activities and through fuel discounts for farmers.

READ MORE:* NZ asks WTO to help end fossil fuel subsidies* Oil and gas industry says plenty of water under bridge* Protest at oil industry scientist's University of Canterbury lecture

According to Loomis, subsidies ranged from tax exemptions for drilling rigs and seismic ships, tax deductions for petroleum mining costs, and reduced petrol prices for sectors such as agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Trade Minister David Parker hosted an event at a World Trade Organisation meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at which ... KEVIN STENT/STUFF

Trade Minister David Parker hosted an event at a World Trade Organisation meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at which he called for a global phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies. But research suggests New Zealand offers them, and they're rising.

Also contributing to his total were the costs of geotechnical research provided to the petroleum industry for free, and sponsorship and attendance at conferences.

The Government's subsidy-free claim was justified only if subsidies were given their narrowest definition as cash transfers, Loomis said.

"Most energy experts and government policy advisers now accept the OECD and [International Energy Agency] definitions of subsidies as any government action that lowers the cost of energy exploration and production, raises the price received by energy producers, or lowers the price paid by energy consumers," the report reads.

Researcher Terrence Loomis says taxpayer-funded subsidies to the oil and gas industry amounted to $88 million in 2016. TERRENCE LOOMIS

Researcher Terrence Loomis says taxpayer-funded subsidies to the oil and gas industry amounted to $88 million in 2016.

Loomis said the Government stopped measuring the estimated lost revenue from subsidies in 2013, so calculations for the 2016-17 financial year were based on estimates or OECD data.

Ad Feedback

"You can't get it from Stats NZ, you can't get it from the Treasury, so we've had to go for estimates."

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) campaigner David Tong said Loomis' estimates were the best available, and they built on government figures in 2013.

The Government cannot seem to decide whether it offers fossil fuel subsidies or not.

The Government cannot seem to decide whether it offers fossil fuel subsidies or not.

"It's silly that we don't have an official government record of New Zealand's fossil fuel subsidies."

Listed in the research was $3.5m in funding for petroleum industry-related research and development during 2016-17, which Tong said should fall in the ledger as a subsidy.

"When the Government provides things of value for free, it is a subsidy.

"We need to couple the international action with domestic action. I know Morocco, for example, have cut their fossil fuel subsidies by 80 per cent between 2011 and 2016."

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said the primary focus of the new WTO proposal was to reform inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, such as making petrol artificially cheap at the pump.

"In 2015, New Zealand underwent a voluntary APEC peer review to get an objective assessment of our record in this area. The independent report concluded that New Zealand does not have any subsidies that lead to wasteful consumption."

Only 11 of the 164 countries in the WTO joined New Zealand's call for an end to fossil fuel subsidies, which the WTO estimated at US$425 billion internationally in 2015.

 - Stuff

Read More




Leave A Comment

More News

Scoop NZ - Politics

nzherald.co.nz - Politics

Voxy.co.nz - Politics

Stuff.co.nz - Politics

Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not the owner of these news or any information published on this site.