By Grant Fleming of NZPA
Wellington, Dec 9 NZPA - A parliamentary committee inquiry into climate change policy will not relitigate the science that blames humans for global warming, according to new terms of reference.
The National government has put the emissions trading scheme (ETS) on hold while it conducts a complete review.
Draft terms, released when National signed up ACT as a support partner in post-election negotiations, included an examination of the scientific claims underpinning climate change theory.
Prime Minister John Key said at the time the terms had been drafted by ACT, which has questioned whether human-induced climate change is real.
The party wants to scrap the previous government's ETS, whereas Mr Key wants to water it down.
A new set of terms, released today, does not include a reference to an examination of the science behind climate change.
Other than that, it is broadly similar to the draft.
The 11-member special select committee is predictably dominated by National and its support parties, which have six votes.
Mr Key announced yesterday that United Future leader Peter Dunne, who is a minister outside Cabinet, will chair it. ACT leader Rodney Hide will also sit alongside the four National members.
The committee is rounded out by three Labour MPs and one each from the Greens and Maori Party.
* looking at the merits of mitigation versus adaptation to a warmer climate;
* looking at the merits of an ETS, as opposed to a carbon tax;
* hearing views how New Zealand's climate change stance could affect its international relations;
* requiring a comprehensive regulatory cost-benefit analysis;
* considering the impact of policy on households in light of the weak economy, New Zealand's international competitiveness and the actions of competing countries;
* considering the case for increased climate change research;
* considering the need for additional regulations if an ETS is retained;
* considering the timing of implementation.
It is unusual for a Government minister to sit on a committee and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman yesterday said he hoped Mr Dunne took his position of independence seriously.
Mr Key said Mr Dunne was qualified for the role.
"He's a seasoned member of Parliament, he's neutral if you like so there's no particular disagreement.
"I think he'll do a good job of it."
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