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National must lead by example on climate change

The National Government must meet its own climate change obligations before it preaches to the rest of the world, Labour's Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says.

"Calls today by Climate Change Minister Tim Groser for an end to fossil fuel subsidies is hopefully a sign National is beginning to take seriously the need to reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.

"It’s all very well for the Minister to tell the world what to do, but he needs to get his own house in order first.

"There is no doubt emissions from fossil fuels are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and I am proud to see New Zealand taking a lead.

"Tim Groser has called the removal of subsidies the ‘missing piece of the puzzle in the climate change jigsaw’ but there are plenty of other pieces we also need to find to meet our own obligations."

Ministry for the Environment figures show between 1990 and 2012 New Zealand's emissions rose by more than 20 per cent. New Zealand's emissions per person were the fifth highest out of 40 developed nations in 2012.

"We need to get serious and we need to act now. Critical to this has to be upping our rate of planting trees. New Zealand is currently chopping them down faster than we plant them.

"This must be turned around and the Government must ensure the carbon price is lifted if we are to stop foresters leaving the Emission Trading Scheme in droves.

"Such an action would prove to the world New Zealand is serious about climate change much more than a memorandum to a conference in Washington," Megan Woods says.