Cross-govt plan to grapple with climate change unveiled

6:37 pm on 3 August 2019

Green Party James Shaw today released a cross-government climate plan, while claiming the National Party leader was a climate change denier.

Green Party co-leader and Climate Change Minister James Shaw.

James Shaw says a new climate change strategy will impact on transport, energy, farming and waste disposal. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The climate change minister made the announcement at the party's annual general meeting this afternoon in Dunedin.

Mr Shaw said the plan was in response to the Productivity Commission's inquiry into the low emissions economy.

"This is a massive work programme right across government that will run for many years.

"It will lead to fundamental changes to how we get around our cities, how we heat our homes, how we farm, and how we dispose of waste."

Mr Shaw said the government agreed to 43 of the recommendations from the commission. It would also do more work on the remaining 33.

The plan includes emissions pricing and investigating a rebate scheme as part of the low-emissions vehicle package.

Mr Shaw said calling climate changes a crisis, isn't alarmism.

"To suggest this isn't a crisis, isn't an emergency, is at best uninformed and at worst misleading."

The government has laid out four key areas in its plan to support the transition:


  • Encourage low emissions innovation through the low emissions vehicle contestable fund.
  • Ensure climate change is a focus in the research, science and innovation strategy.
  • Establish a New Energy Development Centre in Taranaki to test and trial new energy forms.

Laws and institutions

  • Zero Carbon Bill which will put in place legislation that establishes a robust framework and sets a 2050 target.
  • Establishing an independent Climate Change Commission.
  • The bill to include measures for New Zealand to plan for the ongoing effects of a changing climate in a coordinated way (including a regular National Climate Change Risk Assessment and National Adaptation Plan.)


  • Target government procurement policies towards low emissions goods, including vehicles and stationary heating.
  • Accelerate low emissions investment through Green Investment Finance Ltd, the Provincial Growth Fund and Aotearoa Circle.
  • Design a mandatory comply or explain regime for climate-related financial disclosures.

Emissions pricing

  • Make changes to improve the effectiveness of the Emissions Trading Scheme.
  • Make decisions on the inclusion of biological emissions.
  • Set a cap on emissions.
  • Phase down industrial allocation.

National Party leader a 'climate-change denier'

Mr Shaw said the National Party leader, Simon Bridges, was a climate-change denier.

He said the new climate deniers were driven by something even more dangerous than those before them - namely, calculated short-term self-interest.

He said everything Mr Bridges was doing regarding climate was about spreading fear and misinformation.

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