The ACT Party policy
ACT values the environment. Clean water, fresh air, efficient disposal of waste and the preservation of natural and historical features are all important for quality of life.
We believe that free markets, far from being incompatible with good environmental custodianship, are essential to it. It is wealthy countries (Prosperity), where people take ownership (Property Rights), people pay the true costs of valuable resources and pollutants alike (Pricing), and communities have opportunities to get out and make a difference (Private Initiative) that make the difference, that have the best records on the environment. These are ACT’s four P’s of smart environmentalism.
In future Governments ACT will push to better price roads and water, and set up more wildlife sanctuaries.
ACT included reforming the RMA as one of its 3 priorities for confidence and supply with the current government.
Proposed an ambitious 100 year plan to bring back New Zealand’s original birdsong with at least one wildlife sanctuary in every town.
Fought for better ridesharing laws to reduce congestion and emissions.
Promoted road use pricing to reduce congestion and emissions from vehicle
Introduce better water management, where water rights are tradeable, giving owners greater incentives to conserve water and oppose pollution of it.
Sell Landcorp, an environmentally harmful Government activity, and put the proceeds into a Sanctuary Trust for applicants who wish to operate inland sanctuaries for native wildlife.
Introduce pricing of road use to reduce congestion and emissions, following the examples set in London, Singapore, and Stockholm.
The Conservative Party policy
Climate Change and the Environment
While we have no specific Climate Change policy, the Conservative Party’s Environmental focus is to do all we can to secure breathable air, fertile soil and drinkable water.
As a Party we have a no regrets policy to maintain our environment in a clean green fashion, whether that ultimately affects climate or not. While there is much conjecture about the influence of humankind on climate through emissions (the climate on Mars changes too), our interpersonal relationships and care for one another as human beings also has a rub off effect on how we relate with and care for our environment. Money could well be better spent on education bringing attitude change than on ETS and Kyoto, both of which we would prefer to see scrapped.
We are in favour of using our natural resources for the common good with minimal harm to the environment, with total restoration required for any short term harm done, leaving our children with an inheritance of beauty and sustainability.
Conservative Party of NZ
The Green Party policy
Yes we can! A plan to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
Options for domestic climate action to achieve a target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
Climate change is the most challenging issue of our time.
In December 2015, New Zealand has a chance to work with the international community on strong action to limit the impacts of climate change.
Representatives from governments across the world gathered in Paris to negotiate a global climate agreement. New Zealand was asked what we as a nation were willing to do to reduce our greenhouse emissions? The answer to this question defines us.
Sadly, the National Government chose to set one of the world’s weakest and most embarrassing climate targets. It only pledged an 11 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2030, complaining any more is too difficult, largely because of agriculture.
They say we can’t do more.
The Green Party says, “Yes we can!”
The Green Party has produced a climate discussion document showing it is possible to reach an ambitious emissions reduction target that New Zealanders can be proud of.
We show how, even with a five year lead-in time for the farming industry, New Zealand can reduce its emissions by a respectable 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
By allowing agriculture five more years before reducing emissions, our paper removes the Government’s main roadblock to action and gets us all moving towards a cross-party agreement on climate solutions.
Our paper shows how New Zealand can reduce our emissions by 28 Mt below today’s levels and meet our climate target.
We propose three economy-wide measures:
• A Climate Commission to assess progress and provide guidance on emissions targets
• A Green Investment Bank to stimulate growth in a low emissions economy
• A ‘Climate Tax Cut’ that puts a price on greenhouse gas emissions (except from agriculture) and recycles the revenue back to householders and business via tax credits
In addition to these economy-wide initiatives, we propose the following sector specific measures:
Cutting 4.8 Mt from our electricity emissions by:
• Achieving 100% renewable electricity generation by 2030, achieved in part by introducing initiatives including smart grid technologies and real time electricity pricing, and implementing our Solar Homes and Solar Schools policies.
Cutting 7.7 Mt from transport emissions by:
• Providing public transport and safe walking and cycling options that will result in a decrease in car travel of 2 percent per capita per year
• Increasing fuel economy standards for vehicle imports
• lncentivising the uptake of electric vehicles
Cutting 3.7 Mt from industry’s combustion of fossil fuels by:
• A carbon price to incentivise the reduction of thermal coal by 90 percent, reduce liquid fuel use by 40 percent and maintain industrial use of gas at 2015 levels
Cutting 2.1 Mt from our industrial process emissions by:
• Reducing F-emissions (emissions of fluorinated gases, mainly refrigerants) by two-thirds with the adoption of EU regulations
• Reducing our carbon emissions by one-third due to
the eventual closure of Tiwai Point by it’s owners, and new technologies in steel production
Cutting 3.6 Mt from our waste sector by:
• Phasing in regulation for farm dumps, reducing biodegradable waste to municipal landfills and improving methane capture rates
Cutting 2.2 Mt from agriculture, after a five-year lead-in:
• We are committed to agriculture eventually doing its fair share. A five year lead-in time allows it to transition while removing the National Government’s road-block to action
• Following the lead-in time, agriculture would need to reduce its emissions by 2.2 Mt below 2015 levels by 2030
Cuts plus sequestration equals 40 percent
These cuts will achieve a target of 35 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, lf we immediately embark on a significant tree planting regime, we can sequester the remaining emissions needed to meet our 40 percent target.
This plan shows how, with greater leadership and a bit of Kiwi ingenuity, we can achieve a climate target New Zealand can be proud of.
We can have a more prosperous New Zealand now, and leave a stable climate for the future.
There is no justification for New Zealand sitting on its hands any longer. This paper shows how all parties can work on a lasting climate plan that will make a real difference.
The ball is in the Government’s court now.
Can New Zealand do our bit to limit the impacts of climate change?
We say, “Yes we can.”
James Shaw MP,
Green Party Co-leader
Climate Change &
Labour Party Climate Change Policy – Summary
The Labour Party regards climate change as the most critical sustainability issue of our time. Climate change is posing a severe threat to the planet and to the future of humans and other species – and must be tackled urgently and effectively through a low-carbon economy and a comprehensive international climate change agreement. The Paris climate agreement called for “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels”.
Labour has set ambitious climate change targets in the reduction of greenhouse gases that we would implement once in government. Our target is a 40 per cent reduction in carbon emissions. We will achieve this reduction in the core areas of transport and energy. We would also ensure that there is a carbon price that incentivises forestry, and push for a higher proportion of renewable energy. In the short run, Labour has signalled that although we wish to bring agriculture into the ETS, a serious evidence-based discussion around accounting for gases other than CO2, such as methane and nitrous dioxide, is imperative.
Once in government, Labour will establish an independent climate change commission which would establish a carbon budgeting process for achieving emissions reduction targets. A carbon budgeting process based on, for example, a five yearly budget cycle, would remove the short-term thinking of a three year electoral cycle. It is imperative that the process be independent of the government of the day. Advice and recommendations must be able to be put in the public arena fearlessly and promptly, free of Ministerial or political influence or direction.
Climate Change Solutions
The Māori Party recognises the urgency in establishing alternative sources of energy that are environmentally friendly and do not depend on fossil fuels.
The Maōri Party will:
The National Party policy
Climate Change Policy
As a Government we have set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. This target compares favourably to the United States, Mexico, Canada, Japan and other nations. It offers a fair and ambitious contribution, while taking into account the uncertainties New Zealand continues to face. Although New Zealand accounts for just 0.15 per cent of global emissions, it is still important that as a country, we do our bit.
We are currently reviewing New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) to assess its operation and effectiveness to 2020 and beyond. The review will look at how the NZ ETS may need to evolve to support New Zealand in meeting its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse emissions. New Zealand is one of the first countries outside Europe to have an ETS.
Furthermore, we are well on track to achieving our target of 90 per cent of renewable energy by 2025. Over 80 per cent of electricity generated nationally comes from renewable resources, and in 2014 geothermal energy contributed more energy than gas for first time in 40 years. National remains committed to policy supporting a fair and ambitious contribution to the international effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
NZ First Climate Change Policy
Dated 2 December 2015
• A great majority of countries accept climate change as a result of increasing greenhouse gases and as a major global challenge, and the major cause of sea level rise.
• The most effective way in which mankind can reduce the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (primarily carbon dioxide and methane) is to progressively phase out the burning of fossil fuels, especially coal and oil, and instead use renewable energy eg wind-power, and photo-voltaic electricity from sunshine.
• In the last three years both wind and photo-voltaic electricity generation have become increasingly competitive with fossil fuel energy. A progressive phase-out of fossil fuels is possible if society develops appropriate strategies and plans. Other countries, notably Great Britain, and the Scandinavian countries are already doing this. Each citizen, and each country, has a duty, and self-interest, to work to this end to reduce damage to our planet. The motivation for reducing carbon emissions is clear.
• As well, major overseas companies that New Zealand trades with will increasingly require proof that our exports are produced sustainably. As a trading nation we cannot afford to sit on our hands. To do so would be to put our trade in primary products at risk, especially with countries that are doing their bit to reduce emissions.
New Zealand First Policies
New Zealand First will:
a) Oppose the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) as it has failed to deliver significant emissions reductions and there is no sign it is encouraging industry transition. In addition, it is counterproductive to pay polluting companies large taxpayer subsidies with no requirements on them to reduce emissions.
b) Oppose the direct taxation of carbon.
c) Develop the strategies, the plans, the legislation, and the regulation to achieve the emissions performance we seek. We would do so in consultation with New Zealanders and New Zealand business, because we think that without their cooperation we will have no chance of achieving emissions reduction objectives.
d) Make transport a first target, requiring more use of rail for heavy freight and for urban passenger travel, reducing the number and use of polluting vehicles by actively encouraging the use of hybrid and especially fully electric vehicles, providing better public transport including the large scale introduction of light rail in the main population centres, and by introducing incentives to use non-fossil-fuel vehicles, especially by:
1) a fringe benefit tax holiday for plug-in vehicles;
2) the continuation of the exemption for electric vehicles from road user charges beyond 2020;
3) addressing residual vehicle values (the market value of a vehicle at the end of its lease) by adjusting depreciation rates for electric vehicles;
4) and regulation to require licensed petrol service stations to have at least 1 electric plug-in facility within 2 years.
e) Provide local government with clear guidelines and information to assist it in
its planning functions and to achieve a consistent standard throughout New Zealand.
f) Support a more ambitious target for greenhouse gas emissions than the
target announced by the New Zealand government.
The New Zealand Government has decided that our post-2020 climate change target is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. This is equivalent to 11 per cent below 1990 levels.
New Zealand First would improving this by at least a factor of 2 to 22% on 1990 levels by 2030, and by supporting even greater improvements when it becomes clear that this is possible without damaging New Zealand’s economy and trading interests.
Meaningful action on climate change
TOP’s Priorities are:
New Zealand is an innovative, adaptable nation. We can lead the world on reducing emissions, and even better we can profit from that leadership. Delay will not only load more costs onto future generations, it will also cost us precious opportunities to develop new technologies and markets.
TOP aims to take the most efficient and effective path to a low carbon economy. There is no time for delay, nor for a sentimental focus on any particular technology.
In the first instance that means focusing on doing the things that have the lowest cost, or may even save us money. Investment in energy efficiency will actually save many households and businesses money as well as reducing emissions. We also have 1.1m hectares of erosion-prone land that should be forested as soon as possible to reduce emissions, stop soil erosion and improve our rivers and lakes.
We will fund this by ensuring that the Emissions Trading Scheme is a true cap and trade scheme. It will remain closed to foreign units, with government auctioning off its allowance. This will push the price of carbon up over time.
At the same time we have to be careful to ensure any new investments made don’t lock us into a dependence on fossil fuels past 2050. This means ending the bias towards roads over rail and shipping, and ensuring that all major new investments take into account the true cost of carbon. Local Authorities need to be able to implement charges to control traffic congestion in peak times and raise revenue to invest in public transport.
Regardless of our actions to reduce emissions, some communities such as South Dunedin will be impacted by sea level rise within our lifetime. A large disaster, far greater than the Christchurch earthquake is looming. This however is completely predictable, and as The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment recommends we need to discuss this issue now so that individuals, local authorities and government are all fully aware of their rights and responsibilities.
The posts are a collection of opinion articles written by CKM member Tom Powell for the Marlborough Express. Tom is a retired geologist who came to New Zealand in 2004 to work in the geothermal industry on the North Island, is a New Zealand citizen and now lives in Blenheim.