Environment & Climate Change

We’re working hard to protect and restore New Zealand’s precious environment, as we lay the foundations for lasting action on climate. Here are just a few measures we’re taking to keep Aotearoa clean and green:

Reducing our carbon footprint

We’ve made tackling climate change a priority. In 2020, we declared a climate emergency, committing to urgent action to reduce emissions. In 2019, we passed the Zero Carbon Act – aiming to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – and reformed the Emissions Trading Scheme to more effectively reduce climate-polluting emissions. We’ve started planting a billion trees, with more than 349 million already in the ground. We’re also working to achieve a carbon-neutral public sector by 2025, through steps like upgrading schools and hospitals to run on clean energy.

Keeping New Zealand moving, sustainably

We’re working to reduce the negative impact of our transport sector. We’re upgrading our rail infrastructure and are consulting on a range of policies to eliminate emissions in the sector. We’ve introduced a Clean Car Standard to increase the supply of cleaner cars in New Zealand, and our Clean Car Discount is making it cheaper for Kiwi families to buy electric and low-emission cars. We’re also working towards our target of fully decarbonising the public bus fleet by 2035 and funding more EVs in the public sector. This is on top of funding more public EV chargers around the country and making a record investment in public transport and walking and cycling improvements.

Backing businesses to make the switch

Kiwi businesses have an important role to play as we transition to a low-carbon economy. That’s why we’re supporting businesses to make the switch to clean energy through our Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry Fund, which has already reduced lifetime emissions by 7.4 million tonnes. We’re also accelerating the use of low-carbon technology, renewable energy, and low-emissions vehicles by quadrupling funding for Green Investment Finance.

Creating jobs and protecting our environment 

Our Jobs for Nature programme is helping to drive our economic recovery, revitalise our regions, and restore our environment. The package is set to create thousands of jobs in our regions, while improving freshwater, improving biosecurity and enhancing biodiversity on public and private land.

Cracking down on waste

We’ve banned single-use plastic bags and committed to phasing out more single-use plastics. We’re also addressing food waste by backing initiatives that redirect food to people in need. Now, we’re working on improving recycling programmes and waste infrastructure, and investing in the research and development of sustainable alternatives to plastic to reduce the amount of single-use plastic ending up in our landfills. Not only is this better for our environment, it’s also an economic opportunity – research has shown that for every five jobs created in landfilling, 15 to 20 jobs could be created in resource recovery or recycling

Looking out for our water and wildlife

We’re continuing to improve the health of New Zealand’s freshwater and coastal areas. Clean water is crucial to our environment, our economy and our reputation. We believe Kiwis should be able to swim in our rivers and lakes without getting sick. That’s why we’re rolling out our plan to stop further degradation, make immediate improvements and reverse past damage to our freshwater resources, waterways and ecosystems to a healthy state within a generation.

We’re also making sure future generations can enjoy our native species and scenery by taking action to protect endangered Māui and Hector’s dolphins, enhance our biodiversity, combat kauri dieback disease, expand predator control to make Aotearoa predator free by 2050.

View more climate achievements

View more environment achievements