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PQ 9. Greenhouse Gas Emissions—Evidence of Reductions

9. Greenhouse Gas Emissions—Evidence of Reductions

[Sitting date: 31 July 2014. Volume:700;Page:5. Text is subject to correction.]

9. Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM (Green) to the Minister for Climate Change Issues : Can he point to anything to show New Zealand’s net greenhouse gas emissions are reducing, in light of a call from Pacific Island leaders for a clear demonstration of this?

Hon TIM GROSER (Minister for Climate Change Issues): Yes , I can point to the one internationally legally binding commitment New Zealand has in respect of its net emissions, which is under the Kyoto Protocol, and I am pleased to report that we are reducing our net emissions at least to the level and quite probably below a quarter of a century ago, in 1990.

Dr Kennedy Graham : Given that his own Government’s figures show that our net emissions will rise 50 percent over the next 10 years, on what basis can he tell New Zealanders with family members in the Pacific that he is doing all he can for their brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends, and children when it comes to climate change?

Hon TIM GROSER : Well, since the member did not particularly like the statistics from the official Kyoto repertoire, let me just remind him that in the 5 years of this Government between 2008 and 2012, we reduced the level of net emission, compared with the 5 years under the previous Government between 2003 and 2007, by 11 percent.

Dr Kennedy Graham : Does the Minister support statements made by the Minister of Finance that climate change is a non-issue; if so, does he believe it is a non-issue for our Pacific neighbours?

Hon TIM GROSER : Again, that is a classic example of taking something out of context. The Government is pursuing more than one policy objective. Climate change is absolutely one of them, but we are trying to produce answers that meet demands of New Zealanders across a broad range of concerns, and I am very confident we have got a winning formula.

Dr Kennedy Graham : Has his Government been too busy wooing oil company executives and spending $850,000 to help host the last petroleum conference at Skycity to notice the plight of our Pacific neighbours, or is it that it has noticed and does not care?

Hon TIM GROSER : Putting aside the preceding remarks around our efforts to produce our own petroleum resources and create jobs and employment in regions that will vastly benefit from that, let me just point out in respect of the Pacific that this Government has spent $90 million on fast-start climate change finance, the vast bulk of which is in the Pacific, and that this Government supported, with the cooperation of the European Union, the renewable energy conference in Auckland in 2013, which produced $635 million worth of bids for projects for the Pacific. An example of this, in respect of the Cook Islands, will be the creation of eight new solar generation systems and upgrades of their distribution system in six islands of the Cook Islands.

Dr Kennedy Graham : I seek leave of the House to table a United Nations document dated 2012, which shows that New Zealand’s net greenhouse gas emissions have increased 22 percent—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The document has now been described. I will put the leave. Leave is sought to table a United Nations document for 2012. Is there any objection? There is objection.

Te Ururoa Flavell : Does he agree with the submission from iwi leaders to the expert review panel that New Zealand’s biennial report is inaccurate and misleading, and that New Zealand’s strategy to meet its medium and long-term emissions reduction obligations were fundamentally flawed; if not, why not?

Hon TIM GROSER : Absolutely not. New Zealand’s biennial report is compiled by New Zealand experts consistent with the methodologies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is then reviewed by international experts. The criticism is completely misguided.

Te Ururoa Flavell : What will he do in response to concerns from hapū and iwi Māori that there has been negligible investment in low-emissions technologies, resulting in foresters leaving the climate change scheme?

Hon TIM GROSER : What we will do is explain once again the very extensive research and investments that this Government has, in fact, done in low-emissions technologies and renewable energies, starting with the $45 million we have allocated to the Global Research Alliance—which is addressing 49.4 percent of New Zealand emissions—the additional substantial moneys going to the Primary Growth Partnership agreements, the additional substantial millions going to the consortium of companies doing pastoral greenhouse gas research, the $42 million we have committed over the last 5-year period towards research to advance biofuels, and I could go on.

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