New Zealand being awarded the Fossil of the Day award at the Paris climate talks is an embarrassing indictment that shows up the National Government’s failure to walk the talk on climate change, the Green Party said.
The award was given to New Zealand for dishing out $80 million in subsidies to the oil, coal, and gas industries at the same time as John Key gave a speech in Paris claiming to show leadership on ending fossil fuel subsidies.
“National has increased subsides to the oil, coal, and gas industries sevenfold since it was elected in 2008, according to Climate Action Network, yet John Key has the gall to stand up on the world stage and talk about his commitment to reducing fossil fuel subsidies,” Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said.
"With the world's eyes on the Paris climate talks, the New Zealand Government is being acknowledged internationally for all the wrong reasons.
“If National is serious about tackling climate change they will scrap these wasteful subsidies for outdated fuels and support clean, local energy instead.
“Sadly, my colleagues in Paris are telling me that, far from being seen as clean and green, New Zealand’s international reputation is as one of the worst performers when it comes to real action on climate change – it’s embarrassing.
“Clean energy is good for the environment and for employment – in countries like the USA, the solar industry now employs about 120,000 people compared to 86,000 in the coal industry.
New Zealand’s subsidies include tax breaks for oil rigs and oil exploration ships, tax breaks for other petroleum activities, and taxpayer money being given to the oil and gas industry for research and development, according to an APEC report. National has also budgeted $415,000 for promoting fossil fuels this year, while only spending between $20-60,000 promoting renewable energy each year in the last three years.
Fossil of the Day awards are given by Climate Action Network, a group representing 950 environmental organisations in 110 countries.