Government moves on climate promises

The Government is delivering on its first tranche of election promises to take action on climate change with a raft of measures that will help meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon neutral target, create new jobs and boost innovation.

“This will be an ongoing area of action but we are moving now to implement key election promises. We will receive further advice and recommendations mid-year from the Climate Commission but we are cracking on with this work now,” said Jacinda Ardern.

“Transport makes up our second highest amount of emissions after agriculture, so it’s important we reduce emissions from our vehicle fleet. 

“Tackling climate change is a priority for the Government and remains a core part of our COVID recovery plan. We can create jobs and economic opportunities while reducing our emissions, so it’s win-win for our economy and climate.

“We will be finalising our first three carbon budgets later this year following advice from the independent Climate Change Commission, which the Government receives mid-year.

The Commission’s advice is likely to ask a lot of all of us and require action in all sectors. Today’s announcement is a good step towards what needs to be done,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“We’re making progress to reduce emissions by investing significantly more in public transport, rail, costal shipping and walking and cycling – but there is more to do,” said Transport Minister Michael Wood.

“Our Government has agreed in principle to mandate a lower emitting biofuel blend across the transport sector. Over time this will prevent hundreds of thousands of tonnes of emissions from cars, trucks, trains, ships and planes.

“There are economic opportunities for New Zealand in strengthening our clean green brand, encouraging innovation and creating jobs. It will also help our economic recovery. A biofuel mandate has the potential to create jobs and boost the economy through encouraging a local industry.

“Officials will consult with the public and stakeholders to help the Government decide on a way forward before the end of the year.

“We’re also committing $50 million to help councils fully decarbonise the public transport bus fleet by 2035. By meeting our target to decarbonise the bus fleet, we can prevent up to 4.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, which will make an important contribution towards meeting our climate targets,” Michael Wood said.

“We’re moving quickly to introduce a Clean Car Import Standard to reduce emissions and Kiwis’ fuel costs. Legislation will be passed this year and the standard will begin next year, with the 105 grams of CO2/km 2025 target being phased in through annual targets that get progressively lower to give importers time to adjust. 

“The Import Standard will prevent up to 3 million tonnes of emissions by 2040, mean more climate-friendly cars are available, and will give families average lifetime fuel savings of nearly $7,000 per vehicle.

“The Government will also consider options for an incentive scheme to help Kiwis make the switch to clean cars. The Government will have further announcements on our plan to reduce transport emissions in the coming months,” Michael Wood said.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw said today’s announcement is a good first step that needs to be taken on the road towards long-term emissions reductions from transport – and that there will need to be many more steps taken after this one.

“The window of opportunity we have to address the climate crisis is closing fast. Reducing emissions from transport will need to be a priority if we are to meet our targets and make sure New Zealand plays its part in keeping the climate stable. 

“For decades governments allowed emissions from transport to increase unabated. Today we begin the work to change that. In doing so I’d like to acknowledge the work of the former Minister for Transport, Julie Anne Genter.

“Together these measures will help to make our communities cleaner and healthier, and ensure the vehicles we use to get around leave a smaller carbon footprint. It is necessary first step towards making sure that the journeys we all have to take are better for the planet. The measures announced today also help advance the commitments in the Cooperation Agreement between Labour and the Green Party to decarbonise public transport and to introduce a clean car standard,” James Shaw said. 

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