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Govt urged to use fund for just transitions

Govt urged to use regional development fund for just transitions

Source: Greenpeace

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Govt urged to use regional development fund for just transitions

Friday, February 23: Greenpeace is calling on the Government to use the Regional Development Fund to back up its promises of a just transition to clean energy.

Greenpeace campaigner, Amanda Larsson, says the fund provides a prime opportunity for the Government to "walk the talk" on New Zealand’s transition to 100% renewable energy.

The details of the regional development fund are due to be announced today.

"Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has consistently said that it is a Government priority to ensure a just transition for those communities and workers currently reliant on the fossil fuel industry," Larsson says.

"If the Government really is committed to creating a clean energy economy, then its top priority should be planning and funding a transition away from dependence on oil, gas, and coal.

"With $1 billion a year set aside for regional development, now is exactly the moment to start investing in good jobs and sustainable economic development opportunities for the regions that are most dependent on fossil fuels."

Larsson says this means focusing on fossil-fuel dependant areas such as Taranaki, the West Coast, and Huntly, to ensure those communities are fully supported with finding alternative opportunities in sustainable industries.

"In countries like the US, every dollar invested in clean energy industries now creates more jobs than fossil fuels - it’s a better investment for both workers and the climate," she says.

A clean energy economy would create new jobs in the installation and maintenance of solar panels, the construction of geothermal and wind power plants, energy efficiency retrofits for homes and business, as well as the construction of a better rail network.

Research and modelling commissioned by Greenpeace found that the clean energy industry could create 25,000 new jobs in New Zealand.

"There are enormous opportunities for New Zealanders in the booming clean energy industry. But it will take Government leadership to make them a reality."

Larsson emphasised that the transition of our society away from fossil fuels towards greater clean energy use must mean winding down existing fossil fuel industries.

"Issuing new exploration permits, extending or opening new mines, or building new oil, gas and coal infrastructure equates to expansion of fossil fuel industries and is contrary to the aim of creating a just transition."

ENDS


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