17 Aug 2016

NZ to ratify Paris Agreement by end of year

2:26 pm on 17 August 2016

New Zealand will ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change by the end of the year, the government says.

The agreement, finalised in Paris last December, commits New Zealand to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

New Zealand signed up to the agreement in April, along with 170 other countries.

Delegates at the UN Climate Change Conference break into cheers as the Paris Agreement is adopted.

Delegates at the UN Climate Change Conference break into cheers as the Paris Agreement is adopted. Photo: AFP

Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett said the government planned to ratify the deal before the United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in November.

"The Paris agreement is historic and changed the way the world thinks about climate change," Mrs Bennett said.

"Ratifying it early reinforces our commitment to this deal and our support for the global momentum to grow with lower emissions."

She would also establish a group of technical experts to look at the effects of the deal on infrastructure and economic growth, she said.

The terms of reference and membership would be released within the next few weeks.

The plan to ratify the agreement, along with a National Interest Analysis, would be tabled in Parliament before going to select committee for consideration.

After that, the government would sign and deliver the ratification document to the United Nations in New York.

Oxfam New Zealand said it was great news New Zealand planned to ratify by the end of the year, becoming one of the first countries to do so.

Executive director Rachael Le Mesurier said it was not a done deal that the government would be able to stick to its timetable to ratify the deal within 12 months of it being finalised.

"Paula Bennett indicated in April that the government would ratify the agreement this year, and we were growing a little concerned that she might be running out of time to deliver on that, especially as some Cabinet papers showed that the minister had told her colleagues it could take up to three years," Ms Le Mesurier said.

"So we're hugely pleased that the minister is sticking to her public promise.

"We'll be keeping a keen eye on how this progresses in the next few months, and we do urge the government to conduct an open and transparent consultation process so that the public get to have their say on the defining issue of our time," she said.

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