25 February 1999
Rebuke for secrecy over pesticide tax
By FWi staff
THE government is being too slow and secretive about the possible introduction of a pesticide tax, according to parliaments Environmental Audit Committee.
In a report published this week, the committee challenged the government to reveal its plans for environmental taxation measures as part of the forthcoming budget.
“There is no need to conduct policy behind firmly closed doors,” said the report.
“We urge the government to publish the results of its work on taxing fertilisers, pesticides and point sources of water pollution and to make clear the current stage in its thinking.”
Environment and treasury ministers have been working on the possible introduction of a tax for some months, despite strong opposition from agriculture minister Nick Brown.
And there has been considerable frustration within the industry at the governments failure to give any indication of when a decision might be reached.
But one audit committee member said of all the measures the government is considering, a pesticide tax was one that was probably nearest to being ready.