James Shaw moves from Climate Tsar to Economic Controller

James Shaw needs to urgently push pause on his plans to reach into every aspect of Kiwi lives in the name of climate change, says National’s Climate Change spokesperson Stuart Smith.

“James Shaw has released a discussion document on a so-called emissions reduction plan that reaches into every aspect of Kiwi lives, reading more like a Green Party fever dream than any policy to reduce emissions.

“James Shaw’s grand 14-year plan seeks to shift New Zealand to a ‘circular economy’, where we move away from a so-called extractive model exploiting cheap labour to one that is ‘regenerative, circular and equitable’.

“James Shaw believes this will reduce child poverty, make houses more affordable, enhance nature and just generally make the country a nicer place.

“This all goes way beyond what is needed to reduce emissions and, frankly, the policies included will do the opposite of what is claimed, making houses more expensive, wages lower and increase poverty.

“The Government has also ignored recent IPCC advice that recommends agricultural methane need only reduce by 10 per cent by 2050.

“New Zealand doesn’t need James Shaw to plan our economy for the next 14 years. We have a price on emissions and an emissions cap through the Emissions Trading Scheme. If we just keep the policies we have emissions will reduce.

“There is a need for a few additional policies to complement the ETS in areas like forestry and agriculture, but nothing like what James Shaw has dreamed up.

“The plan should have simply stated an intention to continue the bipartisan consensus that the capped Emissions Trading Scheme will deliver most of our reductions, implement the agricultural programme He Waka Eke Noa and consider some measures to address forestry concerns and nudge people towards electric cars.

“This is about showing how our targets can be achieved, not setting a blueprint for the economy.

“For example, the proposal to have everyone cut the distance they drive by 20 per cent will seem pretty whacky to rural New Zealand but also won’t actually reduce emissions when you consider we already have a cap on transport greenhouse gases under the existing ETS.

“A grand economic plan is laughable from this Government, the plan for the cycle bridge was cancelled after three months. The plan for light rail is still stuck at the station four years on. The plan for electricity has seen coal use balloon.

“James Shaw needs to look at the sign on his door that says ‘Climate Change Minister’ and move away from trying to impose restrictions on every aspect of Kiwis lives.”