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Taranaki leaders calling for greater certainty

Taranaki leaders calling for greater certainty and investment from the Government as the region becomes Ground Zero for the Just Transition

A group of Taranaki’s civic and business leaders had a discussion with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and senior Government ministers today regarding its decision to halt all future off-shore block offers for oil and gas exploration, the backbone of Taranaki’s economy for decades.

The group agrees New Zealand needs a greener future but they highlighted to the Prime Minister the uncertainty the announcement had created without any accompanying plan to manage the transition to a Carbon Zero New Zealand by 2050.

“The Government’s policy announcement has many Taranaki people and businesses nervous because it was not accompanied by a plan. We are looking forward to working with the Government to address this uncertainty and work on the plan together, as we progress towards Net Carbon Zero New Zealand by 2050.”

The leaders are asking for $42 million dollars over the next three years to be invested in supercharging Taranaki’s regional economic strategy called Tapuae Roa and to establish an expert team to plan, research and advise on the transition.

Taranaki has the leadership, world-class engineering and scientific expertise and the capabilities to make a huge contribution and has welcomed the Government’s commitment to holding a New Zealand wide Just Transition Conference in New Plymouth in the near future because Taranaki is going to be Ground Zero for the Just Transition.

“We will work hard to take carbon out of the economy while continuing to keep the country running, the lights on and houses warm across New Zealand when there’s no wind or rain, retaining jobs in our region in the process.”

The key to the transition in New Zealand will be well-designed Government policy supported by significant strategic investments.

Based on the work undertaken in Taranaki over the past six weeks, including analysis of the Vivid Report and the Productivity Commission Report as well as international literature on decarbonisation on a national scale, it is our view that the foundations of an effective transition must involve:

· Collaboration to develop a robust, science-based policy framework

· Research and investment with industry on low carbon pilot programmes for use in New Zealand

· Investment in education and training facilities to create the people capability to deliver the transition

· Establishing Taranaki as the centre for Sustainable Development, utilising specialist engineering skills.

Joint statement from:

David MacLeod, Chair of Taranaki Regional Council

Ross Dunlop, Mayor South Taranaki District Council

Neil Volzke, Mayor Stratford District Council

Neil Holdom, Mayor New Plymouth District Council

Jamie Tuuta, Board Member Venture Taranaki

Robin Brockie, Chair of Venture Taranaki, Chair of Western Institute of Technology

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