The National Party welcomes a report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) outlining recommendations on how New Zealand can transition to a low carbon economy, Climate Change spokesperson Todd Muller says.
“National is up for the conversation about the steps we can take as a country to transition to a lower carbon economy. We all want to ensure that our natural environment can be enjoyed by our children and their children but it must be done carefully so as not to shock established sectors.
“There are a number of very substantive proposals in the report, which we will discuss as a Caucus, but it's good that the PCE has acknowledged a Climate Change Commission would need to take into account New Zealand’s particular and specific circumstances.
“We believe it is possible to drive environmental improvements while continuing economic growth, but we need to make sure we get the balance right.
“The Government has signalled it will seek Opposition feedback in drafting climate change legislation and we look forward to that,” Mr Muller says.
The Government needs to explain how it will ensure Māori continue to make real progress, after axing the public targets which have helped drive improvements in everything from education to immunisation, National’s Crown/Iwi Relations spokesperson Todd Muller says.
“The Better Public Services targets have had an immense impact on the lives of New Zealanders – and led to real improvement in the lives of Māori.
“The National-led Government focused on working alongside Māori to make real inroads in areas including child immunisations, crime, economic development, education and domestic violence, leading to real results including:
- Almost 75 per cent of Māori 18-year-olds achieved NCEA Level 2 in 2016, up from just 57 per cent in 2011
- 95 per cent of Māori children are now participating in early childhood education, up from 90 per cent in 2011
- The number of children who experience physical abuse has reduced by 3 per cent – significantly better than the total population
- A 38 per cent reduction in Māori Youth Offending between 2010 and 2016
- 6 per cent of 8-month-old Māori children were immunised in 2016, up from 75.1 n 2012
“These represent real progress for Māori, and a platform to continue to build on and that’s exactly what should be happening.
“Taking these goals away will mean a less-focused public service, right when it was preparing to take the next steps to really dig into the hard core drivers of deprivation and to make real, long term changes for the better.
“Put bluntly, you can’t meaningfully progress on these complex societal challenges if you aren’t prepared to articulate and measure the change you seek – you just end up with words and good intentions.
“Coupled with this Government’s arrogant and paternalistic approach to Maori leadership there’s a real chance that this recent progress will be halted and that cannot be allowed to happen.
“The Government needs to show leadership and work with Maori, not abdicate its accountability while dictating an unclear path to progress.”
National MPs Todd Muller, MP for Bay of Plenty and Scott Simpson, MP for Coromandel have today launched a campaign to ensure the Katikati to Tauranga four-lane Road of National Significance proceeds as planned by the previous National Government.
“The previous National-led Government had committed to a large number of important regional highway projects right around New Zealand, including the delivery of not only the Tauranga Northern Link (TNL) and the Katikati bypass, but also a full four-lane motorway from Tauranga to Katikati,” Mr Simpson says.
“These projects would greatly improve safety and travel times, better connect our regions and boost regional economic growth. However, the new Minister of Transport, Phil Twyford, has now indicated a number of these projects are under review.
“The by-pass of Katikati was warmly welcomed locally and this critical investment must go ahead with construction of the TNL beginning this year as planned. The road must also go all the way to Tauranga because that stretch of highway is currently one of the most dangerous in the country.”
“The Road of National Significance that includes the TNL would see a continuous four-lane State Highway with wide lanes, grade separated intersections and other safety measures stretching from Tauranga to Katikati,” Mr Muller says.
“I am particularly focused on ensuring our Omokoroa community is provided with a grade separated connection onto State Highway 2, and the work has to start immediately.
“This investment is critically important for Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty region and the Government has wrongly thrown the project into uncertainty.
“Our local National team will be pushing the Government to commit to the project and we encourage the public to show their support and ensure our region’s voice is heard loud and clear through signing this petition.”
The petition can be found here.
Today’s reduction of transition measures for New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme sets up this year’s important climate change debate, National Party Climate Change Spokesperson Todd Muller says.
“January 1st is a key date in New Zealand’s climate change policy as we take the next step in removing the one-for-two transitional measures for Kiwi businesses,” Mr Muller says.
“From today the 67 per cent surrender obligation for emissions units for 2017 increases to 83 per cent in advance of a full surrender obligation for all sectors in the New Zealand ETS from 1 January next year.
“These changes set the scene for this year’s debate on climate change when the new Government intends to re-visit New Zealand’s climate charge targets and set up an Independent Climate Commission.
“It’s important that new Minister James Shaw ensures the significant climate change discussions that await both Parliament and communities across New Zealand this year are anchored in sound evidence and supported by considered reflection, not adversarial rhetoric.
“Today’s changes confirm the Government does not enter this debate with a blank sheet, but a detailed series of actions already committed to by the previous Government.
“The phasing out of transition measures is one of a raft of actions the previous National-led Government had underway in order to meet its commitment to the Paris Accord and head towards the demanding 2050 target of 50 per cent fewer emissions than our 1990 levels.
“An informed discussion on further ambition to current targets may well have some merit, but it must be characterised by acknowledgement of the progress already made, and a dispassionate evidence-based assessment on how change will impact day-to-day lives of our people.
“We will not progress a useful nationwide discussion on climate change if politicians quickly move to partisan defence of either their record or their ambition and cloaking their respective arguments with the perceived failures of each other’s visions.
“I welcome this year’s climate change debate,” Mr Muller says. “But it must be informed by the best available science and practice, and continue to have the feel of proportionality.
“The National Party is up for it, I hope the Government is too.”
Businesses and communities around New Zealand will be welcoming the Government’s announcement that it will take its time introducing new climate change legislation, National Party Climate Change spokesperson Todd Muller says.
“Legislation like this has the potential to materially change our trajectory as a country. If done badly, it could have real consequences to New Zealand’s communities and the businesses and families that make them up, so this conversation must not be rushed.
“Transitioning to a lower carbon economy may provide real economic opportunities in clean tech industries, but it could also cause significant shock and pain to our established sectors - and economic prosperity - if it is not managed in a way that is proportional to our impact, or if it is disconnected with what our trading partners are considering.
“The Coalition Government inherits a strong framework to reduce our carbon emissions profile over time. The National Government committed to the Paris Agreement in 2015 and ratified it last year. It’s our strong view that any extension to the 2030 and 2050 commitments will need considered in consultation with stakeholders across all our communities.
“The Government has signalled it will seek Opposition feedback and support in drafting climate change legislation, which we look forward to. I’m particularly interested in testing how a successful model like the UK Independent Climate Commission might work here.
“Our primary focus for the conversations ahead of us is that any transition to a low carbon economy must ensure local communities can adjust and thrive, rather than seeking accolades from the UN.
A new draft plan for the long-term management of the snapper one (SNA1) fishery has been released which covers the Hauraki Gulf, Bay of Plenty and the east coast of Northland. The draft plan was devised by the SNA1 Strategy Group, comprising customary, recreational and commercial fishers.Read more