15 Jun 2018

Nats change tune on commission for climate change

4:39 pm on 15 June 2018

The National Party has changed its tune on setting up a Climate Change Commission, but does not agree with all aspects of the government's Zero Carbon Bill.

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Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

Party leader Simon Bridges wrote to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw offering to take a bipartisan approach to climate change policy.

The government has set up an interim Climate Change Commission and is consulting on its Zero Carbon Bill.

Before last year's election, National did not support a Climate Change Commission. In December however, then-leader Bill English said he was open to supporting it but would not fully commit.

This morning, Simon Bridges threw his party's support behind the commission, saying long-lasting change needed broad and enduring support so he wanted to work with the government to make meaningful progress on climate change.

He conceded it would be challenging and require compromises on both sides, but said the consequences would be too serious if action was not taken.

"We will be signing up, we will be working hard on an independent Climate Change Commission that is non-political and that is an enduring framework for how we approach and get advice for future governments on climate change."

Mr Shaw said he appreciated National's offer to support the commission and believed it was genuine.

"Their policy up until the election was that it wasn't necessary, so [their support] is significant, and I think that what you can see here is an increasing level of political alignment around the broad direction."

However, despite the apparent change of heart on the Climate Change Commission, Mr Bridges stopped short of agreeing to make farmers pay for their emissions.

The government hopes to pass the Zero Carbon Bill by the middle of 2019.

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