General policy statement
The purpose of this Bill is to ensure that biofuels that are supplied or sold in New Zealand from 1 May 2010 are sustainable biofuels.
As petroleum based fuels become expensive and the production of many oil fields declines, and as the world seeks to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide in order to limit climate change, there is a need to find fuels that are renewable. Fuels such as ethanol, biodiesel and biogas (methane) can be made renewably from a range of plant and animal materials. However, not all such fuels are environmentally benign. The cultivation and processing of some crops can use so much petroleum energy that total life cycle carbon emissions are higher than for petroleum fuels. This can be true of some production of ethanol from corn in the United States. Use of food grains to make biofuels may drive up world grain prices and deprive low income countries of the food they need for their people. Other biofuels are made at the expense of natural and even threatened ecosystems. An example is biodiesel from palm oil grown after clear felling of indigenous forests in Southeast Asia, thus destroying the habitat of many threatened species.
Biofuels can be made in New Zealand from crop and animal wastes, and as a by-product of food production. A standard for sustainable biofuels will prevent unfair competition from fuels that are not sustainable.
Clause by clause analysis
Clause 1 is the Title clause.
Clause 2 is the commencement clause. The Bill is to come into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.
Clause 3 provides that the Bill amends the Energy (Fuels, Levies, and References) Act 1989 (the principal Act).
Clause 4 states the purpose of the Bill, which is to ensure that biofuels that are supplied or sold in New Zealand from 1 May 2010 are sustainable biofuels.
Amendments to principal Act
Clause 5 inserts a new Part 3A into the principal Act, which provides—
principles for assessing whether particular biofuels are sustainable biofuels
only biofuels approved as sustainable biofuels may be supplied or sold in New Zealand after 1 May 2010
for regulations to be made on the recommendation of the Minister approving any particular biofuel as a sustainable biofuel
an offence to supply or sell any biofuel after 1 May 2010 that has not been approved as a sustainable biofuel
an offence to submit an application for a biofuel to be approved as a sustainable biofuel that contains false information.
Clause 6 amends the regulation-making provision in section 35 of the principal Act by—
Clause 7 restores provisions previously contained in the principal Act that allow the Minister to require information—
demonstrating the compliance of the person's biofuel with any Order in Council made under section 34C
about the extent to which the person's biofuel is consistent with the principles of sustainable biofuels set out in section 34B.
Clause 8 amends the offences provision in section 37(2) of the principal Act by including references to the new sections 34D and 34E and thereby providing that the offences of—
supplying or selling any biofuel that has not been approved as a sustainable biofuel under section 34C; or
submitting an application for a biofuel to be approved as a sustainable biofuel that contains false information—
are punishable on summary conviction,—