The full text is worth perusing across multiple areas, but Prime Minister Ardern’s speech in Parliament yesterday gave useful hints about how the economy and climate change are being integrated into a single economic strategy. From the speech:
“Mr Speaker, I have said before that when we look back on this period in our country’s history, I don’t want us to just reflect on how we weathered the storm of a pandemic.
But what we built after. Our economy cannot afford to return to business as usual, because the status quo is unsustainable.
That’s why tackling climate change will be a core part of our economic strategy. Climate change must not overwhelm us, in fact, it is our greatest opportunity for new jobs and higher wages.
For a country already earning a premium from our clean, green and innovative image, there is an opportunity to use that natural advantage to create new jobs in new industries. It will also reduce New Zealand’s reliance on global energy prices. Other countries are moving to compete for and seize these opportunities. New Zealand cannot afford to be left behind. Not economically or morally. Not when the future growth of our exports will be built on a credible plan to bend our emissions curve and meet our targets.
Mr Speaker, this year:
Mr Speaker since the Clean Car Discount came into effect the number of new electric vehicles being bought each month has tripled. In fact more electric vehicles were registered in New Zealand in the six months following the introduction of the rebate than in 2017, 2018, 2019, or 2020.
And alongside the Clean Car Discount and Clean Car Standards, the Low Emission Transport Fund will begin supporting businesses to pilot new low emission transport technology.
We will see the continued roll out of the Green Investment Fund of which we have quadrupled the amount it has available to invest in the low carbon technologies of the future.
The Venture Capital Fund will invest in start-ups and we will progress the policy work needed to support the export of green hydrogen.
Working with the Green Party, we will finalise New Zealand’s waste strategy, and take steps to collect, refurbish and recycle products such as electric vehicle batteries.
And we’ll support more farmers to adopt existing measures and technologies to reduce on-farm emissions and invest in research to provide new ways to reduce methane emissions.
Climate change is a challenge we cannot and will not postpone, and just like child poverty, housing, and mental health, it sits firmly on this government’s agenda just as it did before, and during this pandemic.
Mr Speaker, New Zealanders have entrusted the government with the responsibility of bringing the country through a crisis. And we have and will continue to do just that. But we will do more than that: We will take on our challenges. We will provide stability. We will provide a united team. And a singular focus on a recovery that even after a crisis, leaves New Zealand better than we found it.”