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Labour says will legislate to target net zero emissions by 2050 vs 1990 levels; Says agriculture will be gradually introduced into the ETS, starting with allowing it 90% of emissions free

Labour says will legislate to target net zero emissions by 2050 vs 1990 levels; Says agriculture will be gradually introduced into the ETS, starting with allowing it 90% of emissions free

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has announced the party's climate change policy - read the announcement below and the policy document here.

Labour will set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and take the necessary steps to achieve it, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.

“Climate change is my generation’s nuclear-free moment. We have to take our place in the world to combat this problem, we have to show leadership.

“For too long, we have set targets and not done what’s needed to achieve them. That’s why Labour will set up an independent Climate Commission to examine what reductions can practically be achieved by each sector and recommend emissions reductions targets.

We will also set emissions reductions targets in law and be accountable to the public for them.

“The Emissions Trading Scheme is at the core of delivering on our targets. We have always had a policy of an all sectors, all gases regime and that remains our policy.

“For agriculture, a gradual introduction of the price signal from the Emissions Trading System, starting with giving the sector 90 per cent of emissions free, will help bring emissions down without hurting agriculture’s contribution to the economy. Government-backed science has made impressive advances in methods to reduce farm emissions without reducing output. We will also ensure that farmers operating at best practice are recognised and directly credited for the reductions they achieve.

“I also want to see kids get involved in the fight against climate change, so we will establish a Youth Climate Change Challenge. Children from Year 7 on will be able to take part in projects to tackle emissions in their communities. Each year, I’ll invite the young people with the best ideas to come to parliament to their ideas to tackle climate change.

Labour will also back further research into Climate Change and the transitions required to achieve our targets by establishing a Transitions National Science Challenge. National Science Challenges are supposed to be asking the big questions of our time - this is one of the biggest questions of our times.

“We know that we must do our part, however small, in the global effort against climate change but there are also huge opportunities here to create jobs and wealth in low-carbon industries. We must ensure a just transition for workers in high-emissions sectors to clean jobs, and support industries that are carbon sinks, such as forestry,” says Jacinda Ardern.

The points below are from the policy document:

Labour will:

• set a target of net zero for greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, with legally binding emissions reduction targets, and carbon budgets to keep New Zealand on track to this goal

• establish an independent Climate Commission to recommend interim emissions reduction targets and provide advice on the ramifications of not achieving them

• encourage young people to take part in the effort to end our climate pollution through a Youth Climate Change Challenge

• show government leadership by requiring state-owned enterprises and other government organisations to actively pursue low-carbon options and technologies including all future purchases of all Government vehicle fleets to be electric vehicles unless there is an exceptional reason otherwise

• restore the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), including bringing agriculture into the ETS by the end of our first term, with 90% of emissions free

• ensure that farmers operating at best practice are recognised so they can be directly credited for emissions reductions they achieve

• support a just transition for workers in industries that need to reduce emissions and the creation of jobs in sectors that are carbon-free or carbon sinks, such as forestry

• establish a Transitions National Science Challenge to consider the science, research and development required for the transition to a low-carbon economy.

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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.


ensure that farmers operating at best practice are recognised so they can be directly credited for emissions reductions they achieve

"Nice farm ye have 'ere, Farmer Jane. Pity if ya miss out on them Credits....."

What a fantastic breath of fresh political air Labour is promising. Furthermore Jacinda is very probably sincere.

Yes it would be so great having someone so bright and young in power. Nz has a good chance of nz going in a good direction for many years. At least 9 years I would imagine with nationals in stupid mode

When the Nats are defeated, there will be a quick felling of the two time loser deadwood like English and Smith. They'll have a valuable lesson - after a leader takes you to a record defeat, don't keep that idiot around for later.

Completely agree Didge. Isn't it great to have some sanity introduced again into the discussion on how we deal with climate change. Currently our carbon emissions are rising at close to its fastest rate ever at a time we have pledged to be reducing them via the Paris climate agreement.
Jacinda is probably our only realistic chance of NZ reaching our Paris climate target. For me this is the number 1 reason I will not vote National.

Just roughly, is it going to be feasible to keep sending more freight by air (which we keep getting updates on) as opposed to sea in regards to emissions? Is this only happening because they're not having to pay for the carbon currently? thoughts?

I think there will be a eventual change there. Shipping lines actually reduced the steaming speed of container ships around 2008 to save fuel , and they have never sped them up again . Marsek built a fleet of fast container ships around then , they were mothballed , and as far as I can tell never sailed in revenue service.
But I think that will change and a fast ferry type service will come about, if only to Australia.

Including NZ agriculture in the ETS will have the effect of increasing total global emissions, as less carbon efficient producers take our markets.

I notice tourism gets a free ride - conveniently aviation emissions are not attributed to any country, although they may be as much as 8% of total global emissions and are increasing all the time.

Tourism and Agriculture are our biggest income earners. We need to grab these nettles and lead the world again and ensure positive and increasing carbon pricing while providing public transport alternatives.

Our agriculture is world leading efficient with carbon (because the animals are grass fed).

Our tourism is based on ridiculously long jet travel and horrendously carbon inefficient.

If you want to save the planet, stop the tourism.

Or we could change the regulations and give ourselves carbon credits for the global greening that is largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. And let the tourists have a great time.

Oddly no extra tax on Air NZ Jacinda??

Oh Doris, away with all this sensible thinking.

"all future purchases of all Government vehicle fleets to be electric vehicles unless there is an exceptional reason otherwise "
EVs are overly expensive, and, as we do not have an excess of electricity in NZ, fossil fuel has to be burned to supply the electricity.
Why should the taxpayer have to pay massively for electric BMWs when there is only a minimal , if any reduction in overall emissions.
It it just PC vote grabbing self deceiving populistic rubbish.

Government needs to lead - even if it is our money. I look forward to the day when the PM's car is a leaf instead of a 7 series BMW.
Being a Leaf driver and a Prius driver (not at the same time) most of the trips in citys are ideal for electric vehicles. Longer range needs more carbon. Other welcome impacts are improved air quality and lower noise.
When Ti Wai shuts we will have a vast surplus.

Do you work for a oil company?. The price of solar is falling fast and NZ is a Thermo wonderland. Just look at Norway to see what NZ could achieve.

"Just look at Norway "

Almost spat out my tea, lol. Do you mean we might export1,602,000 barrels of oil a day?

No Smartarse,
"The fleet of plug-in electric vehicles in Norway is the largest per capita in the world, with Oslo recognized as the EV capital of the world."

Facts inconvenient for you?

I wonder how much carbon they had to export to pay for their low carbon cars?

I love facts..and carbon credits ...delicious

"I wonder how much carbon they had to export to pay for their low carbon cars?" Probably less than the importation of a similar amount of oil driven cars (they tend to be heavier than electric) that would being electric, further reduce carbon pollution during their lifetimes.

If you are going to pretend to know carbon returns over lifetimes, did you factor in the carbon cost of recycling the battery heavy metals?

Where do they say the EV's are going to be BMW ?

Well the Clark govt ordered a fleet of 6 cylinder BMWs, which oddly enough matched John Key's dress sense.

Haven't both the last governments used/renewed the BMW contracts?

As I understand it they got a pretty good deal wherein the cars weren't much different in cost over time than the previous Aussie cars they had.

The rubbish talking is actually your ignorant self.

a) Prices / TCO for EVs is set to equal ICE by around 2024~2026 and that is now being considered even earlier, ie <2023. So doing what Govns do and that is set policy, buying some EVs now makes sense.

b) Peak oil is here within a few years having EVs means some services at least will still function cheaply.

c) Your comment on "we do not have enough electricity" shows you have zero understanding of the demand curves the grid is under. ie i) during the night we can easily charge 10% EVs on the roads. ii) during the day when solar is at its best most cars/EVS are actually parked up and can be plugged in. iii) On top of that we can do like India and China and put in Solar and Wind hand over fist, in fact Wellington could even put in substantial tidal. Also we could kick out the smelter, add in more capacity to get the hydro power out just as ne project.

d) BMWs? you imply the series 7 monsters? are day dreaming? why have huge cars? lots of very good options, eg Pruis, Mits, Leaf etc for running around Wellington in. Start being innovative, consider car pooling.

e) In business terms, maybe you should consider why so many taxi drivers are running some sort of hybrid?

EDITED. Scientists are now talking years not decades.

And fusion power is becoming ever more possible.

Even if Tiwai point was to close we would still have to burn fossil fuels until, and if , more geothermal etc comes on stream.So the reductions in CO2 are marginal currently, but the EVs are overpriced; the money could go into better strategies for combatting climate change.
In the States, where the EVs may be subsidised, it looks like EVs give a net reduction in CO2 in states where gas is burned to generate electricity, but there may be a net increase in CO2 if coal/lignite is used.
Of course it gets particulate pollution out of the large windless cities.
Of course I'd love a Tesla 3, but mainly for the fun factor.

Hey Steve, all good points.
Just had this vision of Grant Robertson, in a Leaf not a BMW, with Jacinda sitting on his knee, screaming "Volt for Me!'

Have you done the math? My back of the envelope suggests break-even assuming $1.60/l and 18c/kWh. The higher vehicle cost is countered by far cheaper running costs.

The Ministry reckons after about 70,000km the EV will start winning, Co2 wise, they have an extensive PDF on it, and have taken into account the current fossil fuel burning to make the electricity(which is mainly gas in NZ fortunately).
They use 7L/100 km as the average ICE comparator, I would imagine the true real life ICE average would be 10L/100 km or worse, which would make the EV look quite a bit better.
Cost-wise a Nissan leaf second hand is probably the go currently.

Ardern is all about re-establishing the "basics" of a decent Kiwi life which a great PM Norman Kirk espoused in the early 70's.

".....people don't want much, just someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for."

National - not sure if it is the top 10% or top 1% they are looking after but if they don't smarten up they will be in opposition for a while.

Are farmers becoming a convenient scapegoat here? Water tax + (possible) land tax + ETS? in the same term? I'm a city boy, but I am feeling sorry for them, especially as it seems they are doing more to improve water than our urban councils are. I understand we need a planet to live on, but isn't agri our no.1 export? can't torpedo it too fast, which 3 extra costs may do?

Don't feel too concerned for the ones in the marginal land that got subsidised govt irrigation schemes installed that provided an instant, overnight no strings attcd, tax free capital gain in the millions and are now quibbling about paying a piddling water rate.

Talk about nudge nudge, wink wink, tax payer money for the mates. Guess who was once CEO of the Fed Farmers discussing with Bill for more Govt irrigation schemes? “we waste so much…[water], it just flows out to sea.

"doing more to improve water than our urban councils"

Few governments blame themselves when there is a ready scapegoat at hand.

Oddly enough, I worked in a local council decades ago, in efforts to alleviate wastewater and sewer cross-contamination and the effects of this on waterways. There was a massive amount of work going into it then. There has been (from the accounts of folk I know still in the field) ever since. It's a constant battle and effort, especially with growing populations and cities, as each new building and sub-division introduces new potential sources of issues.

Point is, they haven't been doing nothing about the issue. Rates have been spent on it for decades now.

Midgetkiwi - you forgot the nitrate tax that the Greens want to bring in on farmers - but this time just dairy farmers. ;-)

LOL, forget the war on drugs, forget the war on poverty. Even forget the war on carbon dioxide - it's a war on cows.

It's bovine genocide!

Bovine genocide...Oh no, I see SAFE and PETA coming down the tanker track now.....

.. and next came .. Chicken's. In Choppers!

The predilection of Auckland Council to place big new suburban sprawls far far away from the city is creating millions of unneeded km in wasted commutes.

Now now, it's a Labour council so you shouldn't question them. Not on this web site in any event.

Perhaps we could set a Auckland Commuting Working Group to report back to the sub committee. If we're really lucky we might get to travel abroad, at tax payer expensive, to gather the kind of detailed information that is already freely available on the internet.

I don't think anyone non-involved and disinterested in politics could possibly qualify as a member of an "independent" committee. As unless you have a long involvement within the environmental movement or social justice or workers rights - it is very unlikely you will hold independent views.

Goodness, I might suggest that on that basis there are lot of non-qualified committee members out there.

Then again, everybody carries some kind of confirmation bias.

As I have mentioned before.
The ETS is a ultimately a tax on the consumer.
Collected by the clever investor ( capitalist for the labour voters).
Legisilated by the whim of politicians.
I collect
Cheers Taxcinda.
As for the food or protein producing side of my business.
With compliance around water, land taxes and all the other added costs hopefully the consumer will pay more otherwise a diet of carbon credits and lumber might be on the menu.

At the end of the day my passion is a quality food producer.
From a country with one of the lowest carbon footprints kg/protein.

Good on you, keep up the hard work.


If you do everything you can to farm responsibly,then god on you,BUT,I think your industry faces major problems form various directions. your social licence,if I can put it that way,is less secure,as more people live in cities and have no connections to the land. That affects you politically. Longer term,the model is under threat,as stated very recently by Landcorp's CEO. "We see headwinds coming around the traditional protein farming model,meat and milk". Another quote from him: Eventually,however,our sheep,cow and deer animal products will have to become more niche. Our future has more crops and trees in our soil and fewer hooves on it."
You and your colleagues will have to adapt and those who do will prosper,while those who do not,will die.

Good stuff.

Out of interest, what are you seeing regarding the path of young sharemilkers into owner-farming? I've been reading recently that it's getting harder and less accessible for the young Kiwi farmers, in the face of conglomerating and/or corporate and foreign purchases of farms.

Also, thoughts re Richard Branson's suggestion we should grow more hemp? :) Heh.

Labour are as full of it as the Rosedale Wastewater plant

This election is going from the sublime to the ridiculous , now Labour wants a carbon tax on our most productive sector , our biggest exporter , and biggest earner of foreign exchange.

Think Geese and golden eggs

Idiots .

Should we expect a headline from Alex along the lines of, "Another day another Labour tax"?

Collectively if we don't do something about climate change we are all screwed. Agriculture is our biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, if we don't include it we pretty much have no plan.
The real golden goose is planet earth.

There is the world of difference between doing *anything* and doing the right thing.

I don't believe mad panic is the right thing.

So carbon tax with farming 90% exempt to begin with and a target for being carbon neutral in 2050 is what you would define as a mad panic?

Anybody who promises you taxation will save a planet is blowing wind up your skirt.

I started some more simple statements but then remembered, it is almost entirely impossible to have any rational discussion on climate science anywhere on the internet today.

To thinking people that fact alone says something.

Ralph I think this is the answer: The country advised by the best currently known science needs to decide on a consensus on big issues such as climate change. This is what took place at the Paris climate accord. Almost all counties including NZ accepted established science on man made climate change. Then we need to create an environment where we financially incentive people and businesses to act responsibly according to the acknowledged scientific consensus.
If you have a better idea than labor, lets hear it. But don't just say lets do nothing.

There are many names for things decided through voting. But science is not one of them.

NZ is the world’s most efficient producer of milk on the basis of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram of fat protein corrected milk (FPCM) produced, with a score of only 0.89 CO2e per kg FPCM, versus a global average of 2.4 and a global high of more than 7.

You can be sure if we tax our producers and make them uneconomic, higher carbon emitting dairy farmers in the Netherlands or Ireland will be very happy to supply our markets.

Nailed it

Can you supply a link to back up your claims?

Isn't our 100% pure image (environment) our goose providing the golden eggs (tourism)?

Boatman. You are howling at the moon my friend. Once the media decreed the government is to change, it was all over. The relentless pimping by the fourth estate of princess Jacinderalla since then has ensured the undecided would buy the fairlytale story. Daily the impressionable masses are fed images of smiling Cindy with children , in hard hat looking relentlessly businessy or positively environmentally contrasted against dour Bill, often in dark suit addressing business groups or as in today's Stuff pap piece, construed to appear confrontational.

The game is probably up. I'm now hunkering down. Over recent weeks as the polls began to indicate a change, I suspended all plans for higher risk equity plays where capital gain would previously have been a key inducement and have reluctantly begun the process of reprioritising tax efficiency as a key investment input - just as we used to have to do. Barring an unlikely ephihany where the undecided suddenly perceived the criticality of business and agricultural activity, all we can do is hold on and wait to see where the princess fairytale takes us. Hopefully not to a fatal high speed crash in a tunnel.

Including agriculture in the ETS and aiming to be carbon neutral by 2050 is not panic, it's the bare minimum.

Fine - Why aren't farmers able to offset emissions with Carbon stored in the soil and conversion to plant material ? Can you explain ?

For a start not many of them understand nitrogen drawdown which is horticulture 101.

We are talking about C in the soil aren't we?
Added benefit of higher OM or C in the soil is less leaching , yes?

Jamin NZ agriculture is amongst the most efficient producers kg of protein/ carbon or greenhouse gas emissions.
The alternative to feeding an ever growing demanding worldwide population is producing food in a less greenhouse gas efficient environment. In economies that subsidise farmers and does not tax them on greenhouse emissions.
Is that better alternative for saving the planet?

If every country uses what others countries are doing as an excuse not to act, then its game over for everyone.

We need to be mature about this and all play our part even when means sacrificing financial expansion. That means tourism,agriculture and everything else need to put a cost on carbon emissions and give people a financial incentive to become carbon neutral.

And another way we can help to counter issues such as our large CO2 footprint to markets, is to keep our population to a reasonable size.

Completely agree

"The alternative to feeding an ever growing demanding worldwide population .."

You wont save the planet by feeding people.

"the weight of all 7 billion human beings on earth that is roughly 750 billion pounds. That, says Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson, is more than 100 times the biomass of any large animal that’s ever walked the Earth. We are in overshoot."

"You wont save the planet by feeding people."

But you might save those people from starvation. People matter you know.

If humans insist on breeding more than can be sustained by our planet then starvation will continue to increase.

Didge peak baby was 1991, we already at peak 18 year old. Hunger has peaked too.

I am very aware that world birthrates are slowing, especially so in more affluent countries; but it is far too early to be complacent. Already scientists are finding that local temperatures are increasing faster that food plant varieties can be bred to cope with these changes.

Utter BS. Plants are coping just fine. The globe is greening, biomass is booming.
"World stockpiles of corn and wheat are at record highs. From Iowa to China, years of bumper crops and low prices have overwhelmed storage capacity for basic foodstuffs.

Global stocks of corn, wheat, rice and soybeans combined will hit a record 671.1 million tonnes going into the next harvest - the third straight year of historically high surplus, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). "

And not all humans use equal resources. Top 20 % use 80 % of the resources , and create a similar amount of pollution.

Ah luddites. 750 billion pounds = 340 million tonnes. Run for the hills. We are talking spider dins here. Why are ecotards so ecotard?

"Biologists have calculated that the global population of spiders consumes 400 million to 800 million tonnes of primarily insect prey every year."

By the time ecotard luddites make us all carbon neutral the net effect on the inter glacial warming planet will be 3/5 of FA.

"Strangely, when it comes to global climate treaties, our politicians like to commit to hugely expensive policies without even acknowledging that they come with a price tag.

In a best-case, overly optimistic scenario it will cut global temperatures by just 0.17°C (0.3°F) by 2100.

The cuts on the table in Paris, then, will leave the global economy, in rough terms, $1 trillion dollars short every year for the rest of the century—and that’s if the politicians do everything right. If not, the real cost could double.

There’s little wonder why politicians here in Paris are not talking about the price tag."

Try telling that to the peoples of Texas and Forida; both in a country where those in control that should know better do not or possibly pretend not due to greed. As to the price tag, there are many experts that think it will be cheaper to reign in carbon pollution than not to do so. I expect a lot more Americans may now think the same way but rather late now.

The price tag argument doesn't hold water. "Every six months Munich Re publishes a tally of the costs of disasters around the world for the past half year. This is an excellent resource for tracking disaster costs over time.
The data shows that since 2005 the world has had a remarkable streak of good luck when it comes to big weather disasters, specifically:

From 2006 to present there have been 7/11 years with weather disasters costing less than 0.20% of global GDP.
The previous 11 years saw 6 with more than 0.20% of global GDP.
From 2006 to present there has be zero years with losses greater than 0.30% of global GDP.

The previous 11 years had 2, as did the 6 years before that, or about once every 4 years.

According to a simple linear trend over this time period, global disasters are 50% what they were 27 years ago, as a proportion of GDP.

Consider that 2005 saw weather disasters totaling 0.5% of global GDP. In 2017, if the world economy totaled $90 trillion (in a round number), then an equivalent amount of 2017 disaster losses to the proportional costs to 2005 GDP would be about $450 billion. That is about equivalent to Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Andrew, the 2011 Thailand floods, the 1998 Yangtze floods all occurring in one year plus about $100 billion more in other disaster losses. And there is no reason why we should consider 0.5% of GDP to be an upper limit."

Another Green party policy copied.

Its the kinda thing Key would rattle off , and the mainstream media didn't bother fact checking. Or he would manage to gloss over if they did. Its not working for English, and I'm not sure it would still work for Key if he was still PM.

And Paula Bennett on the wrong side of factual comment as well;

Kate your Herald link doesn't work. Has it been taken down?

Where can we see the science confirming human activity is the cause.
Love science!

Never happen. There is a $1.5 Trillion/annum gravy train at stake. Useful idiots like Jacinda will keep the wheels greased for a long while yet.

"Interest in climate change is becoming an increasingly powerful economic driver, so much so that some see it as an industry in itself whose growth is driven in large part by policymaking.

The $1.5 trillion global “climate change industry” grew at between 17 and 24 percent annually from 2005-2008, slowing to between 4 and 6 percent following the recession with the exception of 2011’s inexplicable 15 percent growth, according to Climate Change Business Journal." One possible benefit is that it may help to reduce the obesity epidemic in the affluent world.

No coverage of the Greens climate change policy release ?