5 Mar 2023

Greens demand more climate action from Labour: 'There's always more to be done'

7:29 pm on 5 March 2023
James Shaw

Green Party co-leader James Shaw says this election is going to be a "climate change election". Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The Labour Party will have to commit to stronger climate change policy if it wants the Greens Party's support come election 2023, Greens co-leader James Shaw says.

Shaw made the comments to reporters on Parliament's forecourt, after speaking to a crowd of hundreds at the Wellington School Strike 4 Climate on Friday.

If Labour was in a position to form a government after the election it would need to commit to greater climate action if it wanted the Greens' support, he said.

"Frankly, this election is going to be a climate change election and it is clear from the experience that we've had over the course of the last month that we're now living in an age of consequences.

"I think if any political party wants the Greens support they're going to have to come to the table."

Shaw said he could not imagine a scenario where he would choose to work with the National Party over Labour.

"If you look at National's track record in the last 20 years on climate change it's frankly appalling and whilst they say that they're committed to the targets we've committed to they've actually voted against every single policy we've put in place to meet those targets without proposing alternativies."

Speaking in Christchurch on Friday, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the government still had some "heavy lifting" to do to mitigate climate change but was on the right track.

The government was making "significant progress", Hipkins said.

"There's always more to be done. As I've said, there's still some heavy lifting ahead of us.

"But many of the things that are going to make the biggest difference to our emissions are going to take some time. Transitioning to more renewable energy use, one of the biggest things we can do, that doesn't happen overnight."

Recent flooding events had underscored the importance of reducing human-induced climate change and developing resilience to its effects, Hipkins said.

Shaw said he hoped everyone, including politicians from all parties, would support stronger climate policy in the wake of terrible weather events.

"I really hope that if anything, the experience that people have had of the cyclone and the floods in such close proximity will cause politicians to wake up and start to take it seriously and treat it at the leevl of emergency that it actually is."

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