Productivity Commission's path to a low emissions economy

The Productivity Commission’s final report on the opportunities and challenges for New Zealand becoming a low-emissions economy makes clear that action is needed now, says the Minister for Climate Change.

“It also makes clear that delaying action is likely to make the transition more costly, more of a shock for communities, and will limit our options,” says James Shaw.

“The Government will now consider the Commission’s report alongside the more than 15,000 submissions received during consultation on the Zero Carbon Bill, together with other advice on how we can move to a low emissions economy.

“Early action will give communities the time, the tools, and the options to benefit from new economic opportunities that can come from this transition.

“The report highlights many areas we are already working on, including establishing an independent Climate Change Commission and improving New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme (NZETS).

“We’re examining how methane from agriculture and waste should be treated, and how industries and agriculture can develop ways to reduce emissions while maintaining profitability.

“In the farming sector, I’ve met farmers who are already finding financial benefits from lower emissions practices that have significantly reduced their costs.

“Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage is working on how to reduce emissions from waste, including strengthening the Waste Minimisation Act.

“The Productivity Commission recognises that forestry is a key component in achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and improvements to the NZETS will aim to help

foresters make informed decisions about how to maximise the carbon stored in their forests over the long term.

“Other areas where the Government is offering support:

  • The $5.5 billion Families Package
  • $15 million of new operating funding in this year’s Budget for the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund

“The Commission recommends increasing resources for research and the Government has set a target that R and D should comprise 2 per cent of GDP by 2027.

“That will be supported by the introduction of a new tax incentive for business research and development.

“Innovation and technology is also being encouraged through the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund, and will be further supported by the Green Investment Fund, which aims to encourage private capital for low-emissions projects. 

“$100 million dollars of initial capital was committed to the Green Investment Fund in this year’s Budget and we are working to have the Fund established by the end of the year.

“This Government has an ambitious climate change work programme but we need to get the balance right; moving quickly enough to address climate change, while not moving so quickly that we put parts of our economy at risk.

“Right now we’re focused on digesting the details of this report.

“Our next step is to provide a full cross-government response to the report in the coming months,” says Mr Shaw.

“Like the Productivity Commission, the Government believes that we can build a pathway to a low emissions, sustainably productive New Zealand which will provide a better, healthier, more rewarding future for us, our children, and the generations to follow,” says James Shaw.