3 Nov 2008

Fitzsimons bails up Key over climate change policy

7:55 am on 3 November 2008

Green party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons has "ambushed" National's John Key on the election campaign trail, to quiz him about climate change policy.

Ms Fitzsimons waited for Mr Key at a shopping mall on the Kapiti Coast north of Wellington, where he was doing a walk-about, and asked him about National's position on the emissions trading scheme.

"Your candidates out in the rural areas are saying farmers are not going to be included, they're not going to have to pay anything," she said.

"You've got others in Hawke's Bay saying you're thinking of withdrawing from Kyoto because of the economic situation and yet you told Parliament you thought it was really important that farmers were included - so we're just confused."

Mr Key replied that the party was definitely not withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, and said farmers would be included in the emissions trading scheme.

"We are looking at the flexibility they might have in that, but they'll be part of it," he told Ms Fitzsimons.

The Green Party co-leader told Mr Key that National MPs Jacqui Dean and Chris Tremain need to be told that what they are saying to farmers might be what rural communities want to hear, but it is not National Party policy.

Labour leader Helen Clark's campaign also went off-script on Thursday.

Arriving at Riccarton Mall in Christchurch, with television cameras rolling, she tripped in a doorway, ending up in a heap on the ground.

Miss Clark immediately leapt to her feet, and laughed off the fall.