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1st Green Bill - 1st Step To Stop Climate Change

First Green Bill - First Step To Stop Climate Change

Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today welcomed the Government's support for her Energy Efficiency Bill, saying the bill is New Zealand's first step towards warding off climate change and its destructive impacts.

Ms Fitzsimons' Energy Efficiency Bill, introduced as a members bill in 1998, will be the first Green Party bill to pass into legislation.

Ms Fitzsimons said it was about time that Parliament lived up to a decade of promises to address greenhouse emissions from energy use, which are causing climate change. "Jim Bolger promised to address climate change in 1990 and successsive promises have been made ever since, but it's taken the Green Party, under MMP, to make things happen.

An example of MMP in action, the bill was modified last year by the select committee to remove clauses the National Government would not support. This year, after months of negotiation with the new government, Ms Fitzsimons has developed amendments to bring it closer to what she originally intended. "I am happy that the bill, as it will be amended in the house on Wednesday, achieves the goals I set for it in 1997," said Ms Fitzsimons. "My bill will help this country to save energy. It will lead to more efficient household appliances, less fuel-hungry vehicles and better insulated buildings. It will protect consumers from buying products which will cost them dearly in high fuel bills.

"Most importantly my bill will help individuals learn about how they can make small changes in their lives, which will not only lead to warmer and healthier homes, but will cumulatively make a big difference to New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions, and ultimately to climate change on this planet."

Ms Fitzsimons said as an island nation, New Zealand faced severe flooding and storms within the next 50 years if urgent action was not taken to cut back on greenhouse emissions contributing to climate change.

"Large chunks of our coastline are already being swallowed up by the sea, with coastal erosion a major problem on the Kapiti coast, the East Coast and around Tasman. Sea level will start creeping up as global temperatures warm - and homes, roads, dunes and coastal habitat will all be claimed by the sea.

"We have already seen one of our Pacific neighbours, Tuvalu, holding their breath during spring tides, just hoping that their nation won't be submerged under the sea. They got through this year, but there is no doubt that some Pacific islands will be swamped in the next 50 years if we don't act now," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"It's easy to find climate change an overwhelming topic, and to want to bury our heads in the sand. But we are not powerless," she said. "A third of the energy we currently use can be saved at less cost than buying it. The technology is there, the labour is there, all we need is the will to do it - and that is what my bill provides."

ends

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