sign uplog in
Want to go ad-free? Find out how, here.

James Shaw's Zero Carbon Bill passes with near-unanimous support, however National commits to making tweaks if elected into government 

James Shaw's Zero Carbon Bill passes with near-unanimous support, however National commits to making tweaks if elected into government 
Climate Change Minister James Shaw

The Government’s flagship climate change Bill has passed its third and final reading in Parliament with the support of all political parties, except for ACT.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw’s Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill will receive royal assent in coming days.

The Bill sets up an independent Climate Change Commission to advise governments on how to meet emission reduction targets set in law.

These include reducing all greenhouse gases (except biogenic methane) to net zero by 2050, and reducing biogenic methane emissions within the range of 24–47% below 2017 levels by 2050 (and 10% below 2017 levels by 2030).

The Bill requires governments to set emission budgets every five years, and make plans to meet those budgets.

It also creates a requirement that the government understands the risks of climate change and produces plans to address these.

The commission will be chaired by Rod Carr - a former Reserve Bank Chair and Deputy Governor, and University of Canterbury Vice-Chancellor with expertise in insurance and risk management. 

The 'product of compromise' to be tweaked under National

After negotiating with Shaw for about a year, National supported the Bill, but said it would implement the amendments it couldn’t get the Government to budge on, if elected in 2020. It will make these changes within the first 100 days of taking office.

The major change sought is for biogenic methane targets to be set by the independent commission.

National will also change the law to specifically require the commission to consider economic impacts when providing advice on targets and emissions reductions, and ensure greenhouse gas reduction doesn't occur in a way that threatens food production.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Government didn’t support these tweaks, detailed in standing order papers submitted by National on Wednesday, as the issues of concern are essentially already addressed in the Bill.

'Some things are too big for politics'

The Government didn’t need National's support to pass the Zero Carbon Bill, but Shaw has always maintained it would be stronger if it had bipartisan support.

“Some things are too big for politics, and the biggest of them all is climate change,” he said in Parliament.

National Leader Bridges said the Bill was the “product - not as much as he wanted - of compromise”.

Responding to Ardern saying New Zealand will not be a “slow follower” on addressing climate change, National MP Judith Collins said New Zealanders “don’t want to be first and fast and furious; they want to have a fair go”.

In addition to the tweaks mentioned above, National wants the ability for targets to be adjusted to ensure New Zealand remains in step with other countries, the Commission to be specifically required to appropriately use of forestry offsets, and the law to include a greater commitment to investment in research and development to find new solutions for reducing emissions.

NZ First takes credit for 'balanced' legislation

New Zealand First supported the Bill, further to this being in its coalition agreement with Labour.

Leader Winston Peters took credit for a “balanced” Bill.

“A reigned-in Climate Commission mandate, split gas targets for carbon dioxide and biogenic methane and a predictable methane reduction path from 2020 to 2030 are among the key changes to the bill New Zealand First negotiated,” Peters said.

ACT Leader David Seymour expressed his disappointment in National for supporting the Bill.

“Yesterday, ACT proposed an amendment which would have allowed New Zealanders to achieve emissions reductions at the lowest possible cost by purchasing overseas units as well as domestic units,” he said.

“It shouldn’t matter if trees are planted in Northland or in the Amazon. The requirement for emissions to be offset using only domestic units will have a significant impact on the cost of living, including higher fuel and food costs.”

Shaw said: “This is a historic piece of legislation and is the centrepiece for meaningful climate change action in New Zealand.

“We’ve led the world before in nuclear disarmament and in votes for women, now we are leading again.

“The Bill had nearly 11,000 written and oral submissions."


We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.



Sad, but true. (and expensive)

Scientist Dr Shiva Ayyadurai says there is “no real critical thinking” in academia anymore as professors are “following the money” when it comes to climate science.

Dude looks shady. But people love an "expert" who tells them want they want to hear.


I don't know you,but can make an educated guess that politically,you are right of centre. It is sad but true,as numerous studies have shown,that those on the right are less inclined to accept a human element in climate change than those on the left. Science however,is neither right nor left.

I suggest that instead of watching youtube videos,you do some research for yourself. I'll give you some ideas to get you started. Look at the work of John Tyndall the Irish physicist who wrote a paper in the mid 19th Cent. On the Absorption and Radiation of Gases and Vapours. he worked out how the trace or GHGs in the atmosphere work Then you might look at the work of the Swedish scientist Svante Arhennius in the 1890s. Educate yourself-just a little-on the electro-magnetic spectrum. Hot bodies emit energy at a lower end of the spectrum than cooler bodies. That's really important. Go and check out the Keeling Curve-the rise in global CO2 since the late 50s.

Then you might ask yourself why glaciers are melting globally. Go and visit our own Tasman glacier. You might want to check a report written in 1988 by Shell Oil-The Greenhouse Effect-and look at the conclusions reached. You might then look at the work of such bodies as; The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change or the Investor Network on Climate Risk or perhaps The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions or possibly The Science of Climate Change from The Australian Academy of Science.

Munich Re is a major global reinsurance company and they deal in statistics. Go and look at their Climate Change Overview study. You might lookat the USA Climate Alliance-a coalition of 24 states committed to advance the goals of the Paris Agreement,or nearer home, the NZ Climate Leaders Coalition.

With 4 young grandchildren, I would love for human related climate change to be a figment of the imagination,but sadly, the science is all too clear.

Linklater, appreciate your post detailing where to find scientific evidence. The trouble is there is shouting from both sides of the argument, and with plenty of money going to groups from each side people are naturally suspicious. More so when it starts to hit them in the wallet.
Me, I can't get how co2 increasing by one part per ten thousand parts of atmosphere is going to make such a noticeable effect. Just doesn't ring true to this simple person.

Here's a good brief summary I read recently. Note that summarises what is effectively proven and accepted at this point and does not indulge in predictions of particular catastrophes:

What climate science has effectively proved at this point is a bit more nuanced, along the lines of:

(1) We observe that radiation from sun to earth has been overall steady or very slightly decreasing over the past five decades, yet the amount of energy reflected from Earth back to space has been decreasing over that same period. In other words, we’re seeing clear evidence that our atmosphere is becoming more insulating, decade after decade. This change (less and less energy getting from Earth into space) is very clearly increasing every decade, at least since the beginning of the space age.

(2) Regarding the cause of this increasingly insulating atmosphere, a careful look at the space- and ground-based radiation spectra directly shows the increasing influence of carbon dioxide. For example, outgoing radiation (Earth to space) is decreasing especially at CO2 absorption wavelengths. It is an undeniable fact that we are witnessing an increasing “greenhouse effect” due to increasing CO2.

(3) Regarding the source of the increasing CO2, nearly all of the recently added and continually rising CO2 in our atmosphere has the isotopic signature of burned fossil fuels (as opposed to e.g., volcanoes). This is totally consistent with our collective emissions of about 40 billion tonnes of CO2 gas per year (and rising), which is way more than what all volcanoes emit (around 0.3-2% of that amount).

So, even though climate has changed naturally in the past and will continue to change in the future (with or without humans), the present day surge in CO2 in our atmosphere (about 40 billion tonnes added from burning fossil fuels per year) is, right now, causing a measurable and accelerating reduction in the amount of heat leaving our planet. The fact that this change is measurable over a single human lifetime is mindblowing. It’s a blink of an eye in geological terms.

I’m sure there are many flaws in future climate modelling (no time to get into that ...), but the basic idea, that more CO2 in our atmosphere = more insulating atmosphere, is a fact.

It's fairly clear - only mental gymnastics can spin it any other way.

For some of those...keep reading down this page.

Thanks Rick. I am off the fence and into the believer camp. Only skeptical now about the ability of the human race to leave the rest of the oil in the ground. Forever. Not a chance.

Yeah, that one looks pretty tough. We don't disincentivise it at all and no one will be willing to, especially if the consequences seem to far off in the future and unlikely to impact immediate folk. It's only as folk start to experience immediate consequences that many more will put pressure on leaders.


You have to get your head around the importance of the trace gases to life on earth. Over 99% of the atmosphere is made up by Nitrogen,Oxygen and Argon. Greenhouse gases make up the rest;water vapour,carbon dioxide,methane,nitrous oxide,ozone and the cfcs.

This is rough and ready,but the energy from the sun arrives on earth primarily in the visible part of the electro-magnetic spectrum and passes through the atmosphere without reacting with the gases in it. Around 30% of that energy is re radiated back into the atmosphere,but as the earth is cooler than the sun,it leaves as infrared radiation. Now, it does react with the Greenhouse gases and this causes the lower atmosphere to heat up. very simply the more of these greenhouse gases there are,the warmer the earth will become. if these gases did not exist,earth would be much colder as all the re radiated back to space.
All this information is readily available.


The dumbest outcome from the combination of gullible voters, amateur politicians, and the root of the evil of this decaying political system.

NZ SCHOOLS are busy indoctrinate youngsters about climate change when they should spend more energy on teach them how to read write and calculate.

National supports simply because of the fear of future voters.

Well said. We should outsource our education system to the CCP.


I don't think the schools in NZ are really the problem here.

However, middle and higher education institutions around the world are turning into a hotbed for hardcore liberal values. Having attended uni in the last half a decade, I can tell you that even centrist values are no longer welcome and treated nothing less than 'mild fascism'.

Advisor, I do think that schools in NZ are at least part of the problem.
I know a few teachers at different secondary schools, they tell me that they are not allowed to teach that global warming is only a theory.

I do agree with the rest of your comment, very much so in fact.

Hard to describe this example as a classics.

How is this exposing the broad number of styles of thinking that assist people be productive members of society.

This degree develops professional leadership and entrepreneurial skills for those passionate about issues such as sustainability, human rights, equality, and humanitarian efforts. The BYCL builds on UC’s international reputation in social action, and offers real-world leadership and project experience by way of theoretical study and applied learning.

Youth and Community Leadership prepares students with the knowledge and skills to identify and apply leadership to action change, making this an ideal degree for those wanting to create a better world for the future.

So is evolution..

You may want to investigate what the difference between a theory and a hypothesis is.

Yes :-).

Definition and context is just as important.

To evolve can just mean to change, generally for the better as in more positively adaptive to the environment (which may be changing), is then more fact than theory.

The issue at hand is, are these responses in trying to reduce carbon the right response. Most reports I have seen say we will spend Trillions worldwide for no perceivable benefit, and specific to our own Islands, will make changes that other countries will get to capitalise for their own benefit.

A response is required, but it still has to be the right response.

Phil Twyford responded to housing but it was the wrong response, I think this new law is following the trend. The irony being if we sorted out how to really build houses properly at affordable prices and next to nil running costs, we would be well on the way to achieving these same targets without the tax grab.

But on a more classical evolutionary take, do we need more longer necked giraffes or more shorter neck giraffes?

Or should we just go will the full blind faith that it has started to become as a cult and religion.

'liberal' is oxymoronic in this context. 21st century left + academia is anything but, more closely resembling evangelical religion, complete with:sacrosanct dogmas; manichean views of good and evil; strident persecution of apostates, schism and heresy; divinely chosen peoples (your value derives from your race/gender not your deeds) and millennialist end-of-the world scaremongering. Theism may be dying in the west but the dark socio-religious psychology that birthed all the horrors of religious persecution is booming.

Very apt.


What a load of strereotypical twaddle. I'm amazed that some seem to have this picture of universities etc. as places where carefully coordinated indoctrination happens. Seems like an awful lot of work and far beyond the managerial efficiency typically found. It would be truly impressive if anyone managed that.

Instead, the reality is people being exposed to many different sources and viewpoints.

It is actually good news in that this will be the log that breaks the camel's back, allowing for the great reset.

No death by a thousand cuts here, just going for complete decapitation.

Would that were so, but history is full of examples of where the populace doesn't fight back against the wreckers and zealots and everything just descends into brutal darkness.

I think what we will see is that National have agreed (but have said they will make changes when they are in) for the 'feel good' factor, and to give Labour Col as much rope as they need.

Then as any public hurt bites between now and the election, National will make known the changes they will make will alleviate this hurt.

If Labour Col make any changes, this response will only be seen as backtracking.

More a case study in the making.

Group Think.
- Entire disciplines have been compromised.
Uncontrolled researcher freedom.
P < .05 issue & positive biases.
Activism trumping sound policy.

Current govt. Seems unwilling to accept any negative finding against their emotionally based policy.

Once the data and research is checked and attempted to be replicated, this law work will be ripped out.

Check this out Henry:

Shiva Ayyadurai explains how Donald Trump did the RIGHT thing on pulling out of Paris Accords

Shiva does a great job of making complex things crystal clear.


Meanwhile in the real world:"The data show that direct economic losses from weather and climate-related disasters have declined (based on a linear trend) over the past 30 years from slightly under 0.3% of global GDP to slightly under 0.2% of global GDP.
The first half of 2019 generated the lowest catastrophe insurance loss for more than a decade.” Muir-Wood labelled 2019 “the year of the kitten.”

Profile - NZ's contribution apparently is 0.2 %, Global warming nothing my than this centuries popular religion !

We were promised the four riders of the Apocalypse and sharknadoes and all we got was a bleeding year of the kitten. I feel so let down.

Comments about nuclear disarmament are irrelevant. And remarks about NZ leading the world are miss direction at best. Poor thinking.
We are better than this.

Gen4 reactor's are part of the scientific response, if climate change is real or not.
To exclude is, again sign of poor thinking. Poor thinking turning to bad policy.


You are right on the money - if you are proposing to limit my travel, food and heating, then we go fission. Gen 4 reactors recycle almost all fuel rod waste back into plutonium which can then be reused - so almost limitless power with no waste.

Nuclear fission is up there with putting a man on the moon as man's finest hour. Check out the Ottawa Candu reactor.

Business and farmers get a free (or near free) pass for the next decade, while household end users of energy will begin paying from next year in petrol and electricity/gas increases, I suspect;

You are right off course. But most of households make their livings by working for businesses, farmers or government (who is effectively funded from income of businesses). No easy solution that makes everyone happy.

Yes. It is interesting how we generally legitimate subsidies to big businesses by saying, "but they employ lots of people". They also pay dividends to shareholders and make profits for their owners - and this subsidy of course benefits the latter, whilst the wider population (and the small, non-farming business owners) are not subsidised.

Generally because those "subsidised" businesses have too much economic significance to just slap on rules and regulations. If big company decides to leave offshore due to rising compliance cost, then all the workers are now unemployed which has far reaching consequences. So its short sighted to say the wider population isnt subsidised, especially those employed by big business and the agricultural sector.


And there goes my vote to Act. Seymour's the only one with enough of a spine to stand up to the climate fanatics.

... the Gnats have lost my vote , once again ... signed up to the man made climate change religion ...

ACT it is ...

Labour and the Gnats have become mere vacuous shadows of each other ... each is just a shiver looking for a spine to run up .... sadly ....

Well done, even the national party for once had some sense to join the unity

... the Gnats have sold us downstream , once again ... just as with WFF , they were all against it , promised to scrap it ... then increased it .... sell outs ... all talk , no action ...

What's the cost to the man on the street here? How much is my power bill going to rise? How much will it cost to fill the tank to get to work to collect my non-inflation-adjusted salary to pay the non-inflation-adjusted tax which sounds like it will be used to underwrite electric cars for people who can already afford new cars? Where the hell is the actual analysis on the imposition on the upper quartile, lower quartile and median households?

What does is actually mean?

(that's not aimed at Jenée or btw, it's a shot at how parliamentarians have pitched this as some sort of good vs. evil triumph of the willing sort of deal without saying, you know, who will pay for it and what it will end up costing people)

And what I can't quite get my head around is, where does the money collected actually go?

... the PRC . . believe it or not ... one of the worlds worst polluters will indirectly receive payments from us ...

Amongst other destinations, to whoever owns the Carbon Credit income stream for all a them Radiata Pine Monocultures.....the purchase of which crop neatly dodges the OIO 'sensitive land' restriction....

. . it seems to have passed the Greens notice that China , one if the planets worst emitters of pollution , never signed the Paris Protocol ... and the PRC will be the recipients of money ... $ billions of aid from woke soft touches such as us ...

So funny... it's a riot ... political ideology gone crazy ... it's way mad ....

But who would we (and others who signed up) pay in the event we (or they) are in deficit on the 2013-2020 Kyoto Protocol commitments?

Or would we just rollover such deficits into our non-binding Paris targets?


Most of my friends don't believe in AGW, most believe climate change as a natural occurrence.

So what happens when the govt of the day starts imposing costs on people for something they don't even believe in? Thats when things get interesting, beliefs are hard to change and people with strong beliefs are difficult to debate. Thats along way from charging people because you have a belief that you believe to be undeniable, it's still only a belief.

Yes, it's a really good point. I think everyone accepts that changing climate effects, such as longer droughts or more intense rainfall, are costs that society will need to bear via adaptation methods. And if the extra I was paying for electricity or fuel was going into an adaptation fund for actual physical works, I'd be very happy about that because I'd be able to observe the benefits. This is the fundamental problem with the Kyoto and Paris frameworks and our ETS - where does my money go?

Society is bearing the costs quite well. "The data show that direct economic losses from weather and climate-related disasters have declined (based on a linear trend) over the past 30 years from slightly under 0.3% of global GDP to slightly under 0.2% of global GDP.
The first half of 2019 generated the lowest catastrophe insurance loss for more than a decade.”
Where does your money go? You give 7 cents a litre to the landed gentry to plant trees in a futile attempt to take the climate back the Little Ice Age. The fundamental problem with Kyoto and Paris, even if fully implemented, won't change the climate. Money is diverted from real problems like vaccination, clean water and sanitation and given to Al Gore. Nice work UN.

It certainly doesn't go where it would provide the greatest long term benefit - researching and building better, cheaper and less waste producing nuclear power and recycling/waste management technologies. That essentially the entirety of the money collected is diverted to paying for things that won't make any long term difference is revealing - it's patently a power and money grab capture by special interests and misanthropic political movements that put feathering their nests ahead of any genuine effort to rectify or improve environmental outcomes.

Belief based policy and law is a problem.
You have identified a massive blind spot in the PM department and the Greens.

This is very poor delivery of governance. The more we see of the PM's department and the Greens, the more it seems they are taking us down the path of California.
Science, and scientific method must trump virtual signaling.

"This is a land-based economy, you would think we would be interested in knowing about that stuff in a well-moderated, consistent way."

Blindspots could be causing poorly-designed policies or "irreversible damage", Upton warned.

"How can we make economically efficient or socially fair rules if we can't measure, authoritatively, what's happening?"

There's a liberal agenda globally and this is feeling like environmental communism.

Next they'll be saying humans breathe out too much CO2.

... breathe heavily , cobber ... 'cos plants love CO2 ... it's their bread and butter ... and one of the key building blocks of life on this planet ..

Unlike oxygen ... that stuffs toxic to photosynthetic life in large concentrations ...

... heavy breathing.... ahhhhhh .. that's the way ... the plants love you ....

There's a liberal agenda globally


Too much Prager U

And too much CNN for you slick Rick.


Never watch it.

Time will tell. So far the extreme views put by apocalyptic protagonist of Climate Change from the past are not testimony to any truth. The Zero Carbon Amendment thinking will be O.K. if it too stays below the margin of error.

This week eadly bush fires California and Australia, strongest hurricane ever recordered in Pacific...but hey nothing to see here move along.

California is very dry for this time of year, but you are living in a desert, just look at the plants Manzanita ,black/ blue oak with a few rattle snakes thrown in. Most of USA has had a difficult wet cold Fall.

Watch the doco on Camp fire Andrew..unseen conditions ever with low humidity even at night. But hey just nature systems ..move on.

I do have some first hand knowledge of the area, I've visited Paradise as I had friends there, still do. The forest grew right up to the houses, developers built amongst the forest because everyone loves trees. I have first hand witnessed a fire that burnt 600 acres in half an hour. The environment has changed, lots more people living in the area, more vegetation more combustable material. California is a dry State, Chico gets above 40 degrees for months it's tinder dry and they get dry thunder storms with multiple lightening strikes. It has low humidity for 6 months a year, it's only bearable with air conditioning. It's close to Lassen park, the Volcanic eruption I think in 1916 showered the area with rock.
On top of this many pine trees have died due to the Pine beetle, so, many dead trees, it's 40 degrees day after day and houses everywhere and not enough ground cover management. Radiata pine is extinct in California due to pine beetle and pitch pine canker. The place is a tinder box.

Lots of what we are doing is changing the environment, like the almond forests in Australia, Almonds need a meter of irrigation a year and that changes ground water levels. Where i live the regional council increased irrigation takes and my wetlands dropped 2 ft. The council told me it wasn't due to the increased water take, local farmers dumbfounded.

You have to look at nature as a whole, many things have changed, one biggy is irrigation takes and hydro dams. Vineyards love water but nothing like grass does.

Jack London wrote about a huge fire they started accidentally at lake Tahoe, must have been around the 1890's. California has had rapid population growth and many people living on lifestyle blocks with trees close to houses for shade.

So how to you explain the extreme low humidity at night?

if you lived there you would know that it's extreme low humidity all summer. I used to walk the dog at 11pm it was still 35 degrees. It's is so dry that a little more low humidity doesn't matter much, not when you just had twenty +45degree days in a row.
We have fire fighters permanently posted in the suburbs, aircraft at the airport on call, big jets at Sacramento ready to fly with hundreds of tonnes of fire retardant, specialist bulldozers built to take heat with own air supply, on trucks waiting for the call. We have specialist teams trained to be dropped into hot spots by parachute.
The local farmers say not much has changed.