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SUMMARY: Investment leadership sustainability

Investment and leadership for sustainability

The Labour-led government believes that New Zealand should aim to be the world's first truly sustainable and carbon neutral nation. Budget 2007 – and measures to be announced throughout the year – will accelerate New Zealand's progress toward achieving those goals.

The threat of global climate change will be the defining issue of the 21st century and presents very real challenges for our country. In meeting these challenges, New Zealand has a once in a generation opportunity to improve our way of life, our standard of living and the state of the environment by putting sustainability at the heart of our thinking and decision making. The government is committed to providing the leadership necessary to seize this opportunity.

Budget 2007 invests over $800 million in measures that will contribute to environmental sustainability while transforming our economy and improving the lives of our families.

Using public transport is one of the most significant things individual New Zealanders can do to lower greenhouse emissions and contribute to our quest for carbon neutrality. Over seven budgets, the Labour-led government has invested heavily in public transport, with spending now up by around 750 per cent. Budget 2007 builds on this significantly with a commitment to a $650 million investment in the electrification of Auckland's urban passenger network, the upgrade Wellington's network and further track improvements throughout New Zealand.

The Budget will also pave the way for the introduction of regional fuel taxes that will allow communities around New Zealand – most likely starting with Auckland – to fund infrastructure projects, especially public transportation.

We know that the changes Kiwis can make at home will be crucial to New Zealand's quest for sustainability. Changes announced earlier this month will see new rules to improve insulation and energy efficiency in new housing, and to make it easier to install solar water heating. Budget 2007 takes this a step further by advancing the Labour-led government's work to make existing homes more energy efficient and healthier for families. $72.4 million will be invested over four years to help families live in warm, dry, healthy homes that are energy efficient and better for the environment. The Labour-led government will also expand the highly successful Healthy Housing Programme that has helped improve the living conditions of 4,500 families living in state housing.

For too many of our families, the challenges associated with greater sustainability have seemed too large and too disconnected from our day-to-day lives. To help counter this, Budget 2007 will invest in public information campaigns to provide practical advice about how families can make their homes more energy efficient and healthier to live in, cut down on their waste and water use, and protect New Zealand's clean green image. The government will also invest $4.6 million in public recycling facilities to make it easier for New Zealanders to make responsible decisions about disposing of their waste.

Budget 2007 will also invest $28 million to allow more research into climate change and ways to make our primary sector more productive and sustainable.

Sustainability: major initiatives
Transportation
• $600 million for the electrification of Auckland's urban passenger network and upgrade of Wellington's passenger network (over six years)
• $50 million to upgrade the national track system

Energy efficiency
• $23 million for an interest-free loans scheme to help homeowners pay for energy efficiency and clean heating upgrades
• $14.2 million for the EnergyWise Home Grants Scheme
• $15 million for a Home Energy Rating Scheme and $6.8 million for research and development of energy efficient technologies
• $3.1 million for a homeowner energy efficiency information and advice campaign and $6 million for installation of clean forms of heating for low-income families in poor air quality areas

Research

• $28 million to improve sustainability and primary sector productivity
• $4 million for international collaboration on agricultural and forestry research to fight climate change
• $11.1 million to research Antarctica's role in climate change and global environmental systems

Households and business
• $23.8 million for the Healthy Housing programme
• $3 million to develop business partnerships for sustainability and $7.4 million for sustainable procurement and improved eco-verification
• $6 million for a household sustainability awareness campaign
• $4.6 million for public recycling facilities

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