The supposedly "business-friendly" National Government is out-of-step with the growing number of New Zealand companies that want stronger action on climate change, the Green Party said today.
More than 50 businesses, leading New Zealanders, and non-governmental organisations today presented an open letter to Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett calling for action on the issue.
The call comes just days after New Zealand’s climate policy was given the lowest ranking of ‘very poor’ in the international Climate Change Performance Index.
“Major businesses don't band together and write to ministers on a whim. There is clearly a huge frustration that National is dragging its feet on climate change and holding business back,” said Green Party MP Julie Anne Genter.
“This is the business community calling out the Government for failing to follow up the rhetoric about its ‘ambitious’ climate targets with some real action.
“National's failure to support domestic action on climate change has made it much harder for businesses to innovate and invest in low-carbon solutions. Ultimately that makes New Zealand less competitive in a changing global economy.
“Businesses are clearly keen to play their part and do what’s right to fix the climate, they just need the Government to back them.
“The Green Party in government would level the playing field for businesses by phasing out agriculture’s exemption from having to reduce climate pollution. This exemption puts clean energy businesses at a disadvantage.
“We would also invest in low-carbon transport, like electric rail freight, which will reduce both pollution and congestion on our roads.
“National could learn from places like California, Denmark and the UK where governments have partnered with business to invest in renewable energy, and high-value energy efficiency projects,” said Ms Genter.