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First Green Bill, first challenge to climate change

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today welcomed the passing of her Energy Efficiency and Conservation Bill, saying New Zealand was finally tackling the issue of climate change.

Ms Fitzsimons first submitted her private members bill in 1998. The bill makes the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) an independent authority, responsible for implementing a national energy conservation strategy; helping businesses, households and government to use energy more efficiently; and encouraging the development of renewable energy sources.

"This bill is the first piece of legislation in this country to address climate change. It gives EECA permanent status and a wide range of responsibilities in reducing our energy consumption," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"The bill also gives the Minister, for the first time, power to set energy efficiency standards to protect consumers from expensive and wasteful household appliances, vehicles and buildings, and provides a major role for local communities in New Zealand's first national energy saving plan."

Ms Fitzsimons said the passing of the bill had been a very long and at times difficult process but was more than worth the effort.

"We now have legislation regarding our use of energy that brings New Zealand into line with other OECD countries. The Green Party believe climate change is an extremely serious issue and we are absolutely delighted to have got the ball rolling on this issue," she said.

"The Government wants to ratify the Kyoto protocol in 2002. This legislation will put us on track to meet those obligations."

All parties except ACT supported the bill.

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