Labour’s next steps to reduce climate emissions

  • Labour will phase out fossil fuels in process heat by preventing installation of new low and medium temperature coal-fired boilers 
  • Decarbonise the public transport bus fleet by 2035
  • Support agricultural climate change research programmes

Labour will build on the foundations to address climate change put in place during its first term in Government by phasing out coal-fired boilers and decarbonising public transport buses.

“I have said that climate change is my generation’s nuclear free moment and the work we have done – and plan to continue – demonstrates Labour’s commitment to that,” Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern said.

“Over the last three years we have put in place the foundations to reach our 2050 climate obligations. The Zero Carbon Act, He Waka Eke Noa – our world-leading agreement with farmers to reduce agricultural emissions – the establishment of the Climate Commission and the Green Investment Fund represent the most concrete actions taken on climate by any Government to date. But there is more to do.

“During our first term in Government, climate change was at the centre of all our policy work and commitments. It is inextricably linked to our decisions on issues like housing, agriculture, waste, energy and transport.

“We firmly believe that to have a real impact on climate change, we must build consensus so the changes stick, and the work must be integral to the range of major policy decisions governments make.

“The next term will be focused on the practical steps New Zealand can take to reduce emissions and keep building on the foundations we have already put in place. 

“To continue our focus on phasing out fossil fuels in process heat, Labour will legislate to end the installation of new low and medium temperature coal-fired boilers. Replacing coal boilers with electric alternatives will reduce emissions and ensure those businesses are prepared for the future.

“Transport makes up about 20 per cent of New Zealand’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions and is the fastest growing source. This needs to change so Labour will require that only zero emissions buses be purchased by 2025 and will target decarbonising the public transport bus fleet by 2035. We will support regional councils with this through a $50 million fund over four years.

“New Zealand’s agriculture sector and our farmers already do so much to address climate change and Labour will support them in that work by increasing funding across agricultural climate change research programmes by $6 million a year, to boost research happening in New Zealand and build on our international leadership in this area.

“This demonstrates our overarching approach to consider climate change in all our work,” Jacinda Ardern said.

These initiatives join other policies for this election which also reflect Labour’s determination for action on climate change:

  • Transitioning to clean energy through 100% renewable electricity by 2030
  • Increasing investment in public transport and incentivising low emission vehicles
  • Supporting farmers to reduce emissions through integrated farm planning
  • Tackling waste emissions through action on food waste

Labour’s climate change spokesperson Megan Woods said that as New Zealand recovers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling climate change is an opportunity not just to help save our country and our planet but also to create jobs. 

“Labour’s plan for recovery is about investing for the future, with investments that will deliver huge benefits to local businesses, accelerate the economic recovery, and help our climate. Our policies are designed to make the most of that and create a platform for growth in our traditional industries, alongside the creation of new ones.

“We are acutely aware of the effect these changes have on communities and businesses which is why we will continue to ensure just transition as we do this work. This extends to our Pacific neighbours who are among those most affected by climate change,” Megan Woods said.

In government, Labour took significant steps to address climate change, including:

  • Passing the Zero Carbon Act
  • Establishing the Climate Change Commission
  • Fixing the Emissions Trading Scheme
  • Investing over $3.9 billion in public transport over three years
  • Ending new offshore oil and gas exploration
  • Working with farmers on a world-first agreement to price and reduce agricultural emissions
  • Making it easier to install ground-based solar panels
  • Investing in research and development
  • Allowing councils to take climate change into account when making decisions under the RMA
  • Establishing the Just Transitions Unit
  • Committing $150m to address climate change in the Pacific.


Fact sheet