When green is gold

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Like the rest of New Zealand, Queenstown should be “intelligent” about going green, National MP Nicky Wagner says.

Hard on the heels of the Government’s controversial amended emissions bill pushed through Parliament last week, Wagner – chair of the party’s environmental advisory group Bluegreens – visited local businesses last weekend and on Monday to see what they’re doing to become environmentally friendly.

“We’re talking about not only doing our bit for the environment but balancing that with economic growth and we believe we can do both,” she says.

“[Local businesses] have done this environmental thing for the right reasons and there’s a payback and that’s just intelligent.”

This attitude extends to the Government’s new stance on emissions, Wagner says.

The bill seeks to amend the emissions trading scheme implemented by Labour by pushing more emissions costs onto taxpayers.

“Labour’s ETS was the most extreme in the world,” Wagner says. “You get no more benefit from being over the top than you do from doing your bit.”

That’s why NZ should be “fast followers” instead of leading the way on a global scale, she says.

“NZ is only .02 per cent of the global emissions. We must do our bit because our two main industries – agriculture and tourism – are based on a clean, green country.

“I think the key issue is to get a consensus … we want to do our bit, we want to be there at the table but we want to be sensible about it. We’re not going to go off half-cocked.”