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National And Labour Talking Again

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

By Kate Chapman of NZPA

Wellington, Sept 16 NZPA - National and Labour are ready to start talking again on an emissions trading scheme (ETS).

Prime Minister John Key said he welcomed reports that Labour wanted to re-enter negotiations on an ETS.

Both Labour and National have wanted a grand coalition on the policy to give it long term political stability.

Labour quit talks on the ETS after a deal between National and the Maori Party was announced, saying it had been betrayed in the negotiations.

"The Government, in reaching an agreement with the Maori Party, has no reason to cease discussions with other political parties," Mr Key said in Parliament today."

"If the Labour Party wish to re-enter negotiations with the National Party then we're more than happy to do so."

National campaigned on a "fiscally neutral" ETS, not "one that would rip $23 billion off the taxpayers of New Zealand".

"We're also in the process of introducing an ETS that will keep kiwi jobs, that will keep New Zealanders employed and will make sure New Zealanders can afford their electricity bills," he said.

Labour leader Phil Goff said today Mr Key had "effectively" ended negotiations by announcing a deal with another party.

"If he does reconsider that then we would keep an open mind in the same way as we have before about reaching an agreement that was good for New Zealand.

"They would have to step back a pace or two and look at it again and look at the process they followed. It really wasn't satisfactory."

The "ball is in the Government's court", he said.

"We would re-enter into discussions with them for the good of New Zealand.

"I have heard discussion that the reason for breaking off the negotiations was political, that's a shame."

Mr Key had said Labour did not have to pull out of talks.

He disputed Labour's claim National had reneged on negotiations.

Those conducting the negotiations -- Climate Change Minister Nick Smith and his Labour shadow spokesman Charles Chauvel -- blamed each other for the break down in talks.

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