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The plan, the Government’s response to the 2018 report by the Productivity Commission about how to achieve a low emissions economy, would see major changes across all sectors to reduce New Zealand’s production of greenhouse gasses, Mr Shaw said.
"This is a massive work programme right across government that will run for many years,’’ Mr Shaw said.
"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.’’
Key features of the plan included:
- Policies to increase uptake of low emission and electric vehicles;
- Grants and funding for increased tree planting;
- Investment in research and development on ways to reduce agricultural sector emissions;
- Moving toward 100% renewable electricity generation;
- Consulting on reducing industrial emissions.
Mr Shaw said the government had agreed to 44 of the Productivity Commission’s 77 recommendations and had agreed to do more work on a further 33.
"For example, work is well under way to fix the Emissions Trading Scheme and establish an independent Climate Change Commission, reduce the price of electric cars, and require big businesses to report their climate-related financial risks, as the Commission recommended.’’
Mr Shaw kicked off his speech with an attack on climate change deniers, and dredged up an old quote from National leader Simon Bridges’ time as associate climate change minister – where Mr Bridges said climate change was not an emergency but rather something to work through – to bolster his argument.
"I believe that the gravest danger we face right now is the narrative that’s being spun by Simon Bridges and others,’’ Mr Shaw said.
"That it’s not such a big deal, that we don’t need to change anything, that half a percent more of economic growth is a more important concern than staving off more epic droughts and encroaching oceans.’’
Mr Shaw said people needed to tell the truth about the "climate crisis’’ and what might be coming unless people acted now.
"We know that this is an emergency, and we have a plan to deal with it.’’
After his speech Mr Shaw reiterated comments he made on television programme The Nation this morning that the Greens would not work with the National party to form a future government.
"If you fast forward 18 months and we end up with a similar vote pattern (in the 2020 election) to what we had in 2017, the idea that we could make more progress on climate change and inequality with National than we could with Labour and with Jacinda Ardern is kind of ridiculous,’’ he said.
"We are trying to make an enormous amount of progress on an array of issues and I have to say that the Labour party are a lot closer to us on that than the National party . . . this is a good government to be part of, and we are going to be part of it for as long as we can.’’
Several of the responses to the Productivity Commission’s recommendations are pending public consultation or further Cabinet discussion.
Mr Shaw defended the rate of progress being made by the Greens in terms of achieving its goals, and said there were processes that lawmakers had to observe.
"It is appropriate decision making and ensuring that people that are affected by that decision are involved in the making of that decision and government consultation processes are a part of that.
"It does mean that things take time but generally, as we have seen with agricultural leaders, if you do engage with them then you can make progress.’’
- Mike Houlahan, Political reporter