Greens offer Government chance to vote for the environment

The Green Party is offering the National Government the chance today to vote for the environment, and show it can work constructively across parties to future proof our economy by voting for two Green Party Members’ Bills, the Green Party says.

Parliament will today vote on two Green Party Members’ Bills - Green Party Co-leader James Shaw's Climate Change (Divestment from Fossil Fuels) Bill, and Green MP Gareth Hughes’ Fair Go for Solar Bill.

The Divestment Bill would direct the managers of public funds like the Superannuation Fund, ACC Fund, and others, to divest from companies directly involved in the exploration, mining, and production of fossil fuels. The Fair Go for Solar Bill would amend the Electricity Industry Act, to ensure households receive a fair price and conditions for excess renewable energy they sell back into the grid.

“Today the Government has the opportunity to vote for the environment, by supporting two very practical steps to improve New Zealand’s environmental record by discouraging investment in fossil fuels and encouraging more Kiwis to go solar,” said Green Party Co-Leader James Shaw.

“Growing numbers of New Zealanders are uncomfortable with the idea that public money is invested in fossil fuels and, at the same time, more and more of us are excited by the idea of generating free power off our own roofs.

“It’s hard to see why the Government would vote against Kiwis getting a fair buy back price for the excess power they create, or to vote to continue to invest in the industry that plays such a big role in climate pollution.

“Continuing to invest in fossil fuels doesn’t make good economic sense either. Fossil fuel investments are losing value left, right, and centre, so New Zealand’s investments, such as the Superannuation fund, risk being stranded with low value assets that are also terrible for the environment.

“Yesterday, Business New Zealand released findings of a survey which showed a strong desire among business to act to stop damage to the climate. Businesses are showing ambitious and practical leadership on the environment and need the Government to do the same”.

"Supporting solar will lower our carbon emissions, add resilience to our grid, enable people to gain greater independence from increasing power prices, and will create good green jobs throughout New Zealand," Mr Shaw said.

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