Only 1 in 10 support ETS

Only one New Zealander in 10 is keen for the much vaunted emmissions trading law to go ahead.

The Government has got a big job ahead of it corralling the minor parties into supporting its Emissions Trading Scheme.

Hardly surprising when these parties are well aware of market research circulating around Wellington showing that, when informed about the scheme, only about 10% of New Zealanders really support it. This research has been leaked to WOBH and is outlined below.

Not only that, but many don’t believe climate change is actually occurring, or that human or animal behaviour has anything to do with it. Worse still for the Government, fewer than half, (47%) had initially heard of the Emissions Trading Scheme when surveyed either.

Given that this legislation would usher in the biggest economic change seen in this country for decades, these research findings are serious for the Government. They show that it has done a truly dismal job of communicating both the challenge and the solution and/ or that the electorate isn’t buying either.

Enough to stop you dead in your tracks if you were a minor party strongly focussed on getting at least 5% of the vote.

The research was conducted by industry leader TNS-Conversa in June, using an on-line sample of 1000 giving a margin of error of 3.1%

The key findings are the worst nightmare for a Government determined that its emission trading legislation will be one of its key achievements this term, or if it is not passed, a key plank in its election platform

ETS Awareness and Support (not-informed)

* Less than half of the general public are aware of the ETS

* Less than a quarter of the general public are aware of the ETS and know something about it

* A third of respondents are aware of the ETS and felt that they had enough knowledge to be able to rate their level of support

* 13% strongly support the current planned ETS

ETS Support (informed)

* When all respondents were given a summary explanation of the ETS including 6 benefits and 6 costs, 77% felt knowledgeable enough to be able to rate their support and of these 8% strongly support the ETS

The general public’s ETS concerns:

* Resultant price rises for the public

* Impact on the economy and NZ businesses

* Job losses

* The speed with which policy-makers plan to implement the scheme

What the general public think should happen with the ETS

* 7% of the general public believe that policy-makers should launch the ETS in its current state (86% expressed an opinion)

* Nearly a quarter (23%) believe that the start should be delayed until more work has been done to assess the impacts

* Nearly a quarter (24%) think that New Zealand should simply encourage people to be more environmentally friendly and do nothing more for now

* Nearly a fifth (19%) would like to see changes made to reduce the negative impact before it is launched

Key issues facing the country according to the general public

* Reducing the cost of living, improving healthcare, reducing crime and improving the economy (tackling climate change ranked significantly lower than any other issue in the survey)

* The largest gaps where policy-makers are not thought to be paying enough attention are reducing the cost of living, reducing crime, reducing poverty and improving the health service

This research was commissioned by the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research as part of major ongoing work on aspects of New Zealand’s proposed response to the climate change issue, and sent recently to NZIER members.

To make matters even worse just a paltry 29% of respondents support New Zealand being part of the Kyoto Protocol.

The government may well have gone a bridge too far with pushing through this legislation and from these figures there would be no collateral damage if Natioanl was to yank support for the ETS and announce that New Zealand intends to withdraw from Kyoto if National is elected.

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