Act vows to cancel 'wasteful' climate change spending

Act leader David Seymour. Photo: RNZ
Act leader David Seymour. Photo: RNZ
Act Party leader David Seymour says his party will stop what he calls wasteful climate change spending.

Campaigning in the central North Island today, Seymour said New Zealand must reduce emissions but not at the expense of economic wellbeing.

His party's climate policies include repealing the Zero Carbon Act, which requires the government to set an emissions reduction plan, and tying New Zealand's emissions cap to those of its trading partners.

Seymour said Act would also build infrastructure such as bridges and roads that could cope with climate change.

"Politicians across the political spectrum have set New Zealand on a bureaucratic, costly and irrational climate change response. National, NZ First, Labour, and the Greens all voted for the Zero Carbon Act.

Parties on the left and right have plans to tax farmers when no country in the world has put a price on biogenic methane. All political parties except Act are asking New Zealanders to go further and faster in cutting emissions than our trading partners.

"The result is that families will pay more for food, energy and transport and have less money to deal with the cost of living crisis, and businesses will be put at a disadvantage on the world stage.

"Rather than adapting to the effects of climate change by investing in more resilient infrastructure, politicians are wasting money on mitigation projects that cost more than the ETS price."

Seymour said reducing emissions did not have to add to the cost of living crisis facing New Zealanders.

Act would get rid of the Zero Carbon Act and the Climate Change Commission, he said.

Furthermore, his party would also repeal "the oil and gas ban, 100 percent renewable electricity generation, the Clean Car Discount, and any spending on mitigation in areas that are covered by the ETS. They have no effect on climate change because the ETS already caps emissions".

"We will instead tie New Zealand's emission cap to our trading partners' emissions, allowing people to make their own choices considering the carbon price that creates, and ensuring political durability by giving all New Zealanders a stake in the ETS as recipients of a carbon tax credit."

"Instead of wasting billions on mitigation in areas already covered by the ETS, Act will focus on building resilient infrastructure that can cope with climate change. Roads, bridges, ports, and stormwater infrastructure require billions of dollars over the next decade to future-proof towns, cities and regions. Act will share GST with councils so they can build infrastructure that can stand up to extreme weather events.

"We will repeal the bizarre ban on offshore mitigation," Seymour said.