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Prime Minister Ardern on Climate Change and the economy

Written By: - Date published: 12:27 pm, February 9th, 2022 - 33 comments
Categories: climate change, economy, jacinda ardern, labour - Tags:

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:

  • Our first Emissions Reduction Plan will put innovation and clean technology at the heart of our economic transition
  • We’ll continue to support businesses to reduce their energy costs through the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund which replaces industrial process heaters to low emissions alternatives and has already reduced lifetime emissions by 6.6 million tonnes.

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.”

33 comments on “Prime Minister Ardern on Climate Change and the economy ”

  1. roy cartland 1

    Luxon said something that I agree with straight after (easy to do in OPP, of course), is that they – we – need to get on and do as much as talk about it. I didn't agree that LP is doing nothing, but like James Shaw after him, we could be moving quicker. Then David Seymour spoke…. oh dear.

  2. Patricia Bremner 2

    Why I wonder, is this topic not being discussed by the Greens on the site? I see this as the beginning of the two parties aligning goals.

    • weka 2.1

      Here's my deep green perspective. It won't be nearly enough. There's some hope that they will at least turn more in the right direction, we will have to see. Ardern is expert at rhetoric, I'm sure she make it sound good. So when you say,

      I see this as the beginning of the two parties aligning goals.

      I see Labour still dragging the chain. If we compare climate with covid-19, Labour's climate response is akin to saying the pandemic is important but still being in denial of the extent of the crisis. We'll vaccinate and adapt, but basically let people get on with their lives and we'll keep the economy on a BAU track.

      My challenge to Labour voters is this: what is it about mass species extinction, mass climate refugees, global crop failures, that you don't get? Why do you think we have time to take incremental steps? Where is your thinking on the time lag involved, that it's the GHGs emitted now that will cause problems for later generations, but also the ones we burned already are causing problems for us, here and now. How long do you think NZ can keep affording to repair roads and bridges, evacuate and then rehome towns, relocate many of our coastal settlements? What do you actually think is happening, what do you think climate and ecological crises are?

      • Ad 2.1.1

        Let's see what Shaw and Robertson come up with between them in 3 months' time.

        I wouldn't bring out the arm waving rhetoric just yet though: Shaw's pattern so far has been to bend over backwards to keep the National Party on board throughout the legislative process. Which makes plenty of sense in the long term.

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          they're all between a rock and a hard place. Shaw has worked with green kaupapa that values building relationships. This is important work. It won't be enough.

          • Ad 2.1.1.1.1

            Come on, you can't try and let them off after just complaining they're not radical enough.

            We've seen National and Labour agree in the space of a year about how to break and remake the entire telecommunications industry (2007-8).

            We've seen National build on Labour's acceleration of state involvement in house construction (HLC+Kainga Ora 2006-present).

            We've seen National and Labour agree on the largest ever infrastructure project in City Rail Link (2015-7).

            We've seen National and Labour agree on the rebuild of the RMA with specific attention to housing density (2021).

            We've seen National, Labour and Greens agree on the Carbon Zero Bill (2019).

            There's also been bunches of other, more minor legislation we've all agreed on.

            This is not a country whose politics is riven by extremes. In fact it takes very little for us to agree and bed it all down for the long term. We are likely in for a quite uncontroversial programme where the great majority will find implementation perfectly practical and achievable.

            • weka 2.1.1.1.1.1

              I think most NZers want the government to take more action on climate, but are unwilling to change in the ways we need. Hence rock and hard place (assuming that the Labour caucus isn't in denial).

              • Ad

                Few have discovered the rock-hard place nexus yet.

                I'm not convinced citizens have even started to reconcile the rhetoric of climate change activists with the practicalities the government has set out in 2019 and October 2021.

                New Zealand | Climate Action Tracker

                We are just getting squeals from the public as 91 Petrol heads to $3 a litre, despite being at Red and over half of the workforce working from home again. You can just on that point alone imagine the rage when we’re all back driving.

                The general farmer rage against "ute taxes" last year was certainly more convincing than any protest that government regulation was too weak.

                By the end of 2023 if government policies are implemented, we are going to have: 91 Octane at $3.30+, less than half New Zealand's buses running combustion engines, congestion charging on roads well underway, a shift from petrol excise to every single vehicle owner paying RUC, a hard deadline for banning all combustion cars into NZ, every single grocery item with high in-built carbon having its price go through the roof, every single water user metered and paying for it, a ban on coal-fired boilers or fires, all manner of regulations on farmers, and a full sinking lid on CO2 production across the entire public sector and a likely accelerated timetable for farmers as well.

                Hey sure it may not be enough, but if you're old enough you'd recognise a policy blitzkrieg similar to Roger Douglas.

                • Poission

                  Dont forget we will also have higher electricity charges to make EV's economically viable.As the transfer of wealth from low user electricity charges to higher users (with bigger ballrooms) and higher incomes will disadvantage the less fortunate who pay a higher proportion of net income to energy.

                  Unfortunately for the Government they also vote.

                  • Ad

                    Pretty hard to see electricity getting cheaper even when subsidised by supertankers of Indonesian brown coal like we have been. The proles can still come to my ballroom as wait-staff.

                    Thankfully we are run by the government who is most adept at smashing through country-altering economic policy, and rolling out crisis-plan after crisis-plan … and the great majority of voters appear quite happy to give them another go.

                    • Poission

                      More cost efficient (in the absence of another energy source) to use coal from Huntley west.

                      You only need to look at the F/up in the UK (with energy increases of 54% on the 1st April) to understand those policy models are passed their use by date.

                      Similar stories in Europe,the US and Japan.

                      Only one country will have decreased power prices and that is Australia,and that is by thinking small and not big.

                    • Ad

                      Cost efficiency is not good enough. Slavery is cost efficient.

                    • Poission

                      Its also more emission efficient.

                    • Ad

                      Prove it for NZ generation conditions.

                    • Poission

                      You know where indonesia is?

          • RosieLee 2.1.1.1.2

            Green kaupapa? I thought it was about environmental and sustainability issues ie GREEN. This lot have sold their soul to the devil ie LINO. What did Shaw achieve in his junket to Glasgow? Or the next climate change conference? If it was a joke I'd laugh, but it's just not funny.

        • Robert Guyton 2.1.1.2

          Agreed, Ad.

      • lprent 2.1.2

        My challenge to Labour voters is this: what is it about mass species extinction, mass climate refugees, global crop failures, that you don't get?

        My challenge to Green voters as a trained earth scientist and a amateur historian is thus..

        So whats new and how much does it matter and why? WE have had at least 5 known major extinctions over the last 4.5 billion years and innumerable smaller ones like the poles flipping.

        The vast majority of our biosphere is perfectly safe – it lives inside the top 2-6km of the crust as various types of micro-organisms. It is really only the apex plants, and animals that are at risk from climate change.

        A setback for a a few hundred thousand years or even a million is nothing on that timescale.

        Even within the teeny portion of the earths lifetime that we have had humans around there have been a hell of a lot of human cultures crash for any different reasons. From the interglacials wiping out whole cultures by drowning their hunting grounds in Doggerland and other places, to more recent events the loss of most of the old Roman grain bowl in north Africa to desertification.

        About the only thing that dropped human populations significantly in recent times was the black death from what is commonly known as the Justinian plague in the 6th century until the early 20th century (and probably caused earlier Neolithic population decreases).

        So explain to me why you think that climate change is important.

        Just to be clear, I think that it is. However I really think that people, especially Greens, need to start to think about it on larger timescale than simple conservation. That is no different from the viewpoint of the Nats who tend to think of it in terms of BAU.

        Because to me it has little to nothing to do with washed out roads or bridges, houses getting washed away or falling off cliffs, islands disappearing, mass migrations or insurance.

        That is all short-term crap over the next few centuries which will inevitability already happen regardless what people do now. The only thing that could hold that off is some kind of techno magic that will almost certainly cause more problems than it solves (like the futile efforts at carbon sequestration(including in trees) or isolation reduction systems).

        Effectively what we’re looking at changing now is what people have to look forward to in the next century.

        • pat 2.1.2.1

          "Effectively what we’re looking at changing now is what people have to look forward to in the next century."

          Effectively we havnt yet begun to see that which we will have to adapt to (or more likely. not)

  3. Farmer's daughter 3

    If we are really relying on technofixes to deal with ag emissions and climate change then we are doomed. They are unproven, undeveloped, and insufficient. What we need to do is to cut the destructive inputs driving agricultural intensification and polluting our rivers, destroying the climate and damaging our health. That means fewer cows and phasing out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser. That will make much more of an impact than technofixes ever will – as confirmed by the OECD and other reports just last week.

    • Ad 3.1

      So you'll be supporting the Three Waters legislation then, and happy to see regional councils stripped of their cowardly abasement to farmers.

    • Hunter Thompson II 3.2

      I'd accept a lower material standard of living in return for a truly healthy environment. Too much emphasis on consumerism these days, with consequent waste.

      We need fewer cows too – Lake Ellesmere has just been classified as unsafe for recreation. Does anyone see that as a good thing?

  4. Herodotus 4

    Try reading A Life on Our Planet by Sir David Attenborough, for an easy read on the topic. And then see how NZ is fiddling whilst Rome burns !!!

    https://attenboroughfilm.com/

    https://www.thenile.co.nz/books/david-attenborough/a-life-on-our-planet/9781529108279?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvKr14u7x9QIVQZJmAh3rmgyfEAQYASABEgIIwPD_BwE

    • Ad 4.1

      David Attenborough isn't running a country.

      • Herodotus 4.1.1

        He has more credibility than those amateurs that we have fronting CC in this country.

        Our government thinks in colonialism terms in that we can pay others for credits and exploiting them economically because "we" do not want to fully commit to achieving "our" targeted reduction from NZ domestically. So much easier to pay others and continue BAU.

      • Robert Guyton 4.1.2

        He's running a line – the truest line that can be run.

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