Protecting our environment for future generations

Addressing climate change is the right thing to do to safeguard our environment for future generations, but it’s also the smart thing to do – taking action now is in our economic interests and will reduce cost pressures on Kiwi households. 

The Chris Hipkins Government is continuing to take action to protect our environment and secure New Zealand's clean, green export brand. 

Here's how:

Climate fund to back 100% renewable electricity

This week, we announced a partnership with BlackRock, one of the world’s largest investors in climate infrastructure and clean technology, to launch a $2 billion fund with the goal of making New Zealand one of the first countries in the world to reach 100% renewable electricity.

This fund demonstrates the huge economic potential of us being a climate leader. It proves again that we can grow our economy while we lower emissions, and is a massive opportunity for New Zealand innovators to develop and grow companies. 

It shows that our ambitious climate targets have the world’s attention, and that they are good for the climate, good for the economy, and will help create highly skilled jobs, while being a game-changer for the clean tech sector.

On top of this, we’ve also recently announced we’ve also announced plans to fast-track solar and wind generation projects that would produce more power than the Clyde Dam – the country’s third largest hydro dam – at a fraction of the time, cost and impact on the environment.

Partnering with industry to cut coal use

We recently announced that we’re partnering with Fonterra to cut coal use at its dairy factories, delivering massive emissions reductions, and future-proofing New Zealand trade and exports. 

Fonterra has committed to undertaking a complex range of projects to cut coal use across six manufacturing sites – resulting in approximately 2.1 million tonnes of earlier CO2e reductions. The reductions are the same as taking approximately 120,000 cars off the road.

This hugely significant commitment means the dairy sector will dramatically cut its coal use quicker - this is not just critical for our environment, but for our economy too.

Tripling the Hauraki Gulf protection area

We’re taking a major step towards protecting the Hauraki Gulf for future generations – announcing significant new marine protections for the area.

The Hauraki Gulf -- Tīkapa Moana – is an absolute treasure and needs to be protected for the enjoyment of future generations. It’s also an essential and traditional source of food, and a vital part of our economy for the tourism, transport and seafood sectors, with a recent assessment putting the economic value of the Gulf at $100 billion.

This week we announced that we’re nearly tripling the area that’s under protection, increasing coverage to 18% of the Gulf with 19 new marine protection areas.

We’re restricting the practice of bottom trawling from large areas of the Gulf, alongside tailored fisheries plans to support the unique ecosystem. And a new protect tool, the high protection area, will recognise kaitiakitanga and cultural practices of tangata whenua while also meeting strong conservation outcomes.

The best way to protect this special marine ecosystem is to find conservation solutions which work for everyone – and that’s exactly what this action to revitalise the Gulf does.

New Zealand is on its way to a low-emissions future

Labour has taken more action on climate change than any other prior government combined, and our actions mean that New Zealand is on track to achieve our first emissions budget.

Real progress began with our ban on granting new offshore oil and gas exploration permits in 2018, sending a clear market signal that future electricity generation investment needs to be renewable in order to hit our target of 100% by 2030.

Since then, we have:

  • Passed the landmark Zero Carbon Act, putting into law our goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050
  • Overhauled the Emissions Trading Scheme
  • Made electric cars more affordable and are experiencing one of the highest uptakes of EVs anywhere in the world
  • Invested in climate and agriculture research and science
  • Provided support for businesses to remove coal boilers and switch from expensive fossil fuels
  • Invested in rail, public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure

Because of actions like these, New Zealand is now bending the curve on emissions with climate pollution falling through 2020, 2021 and 2022, with the December 2022 quarter delivering the lowest figure in at least nine years.

We can’t opt out of the effects of climate change, so we can’t opt out of taking action. A low emissions future is achievable for New Zealand, and with a Chris Hipkins Government we’re well on our way.

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