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Pledging solar subsidies could be a vote winner

Horizon Research

Media release

28 August 2018

Pledging solar subsidies could be a vote winner

Government subsidies for residential solar power appeals most to New Zealanders as a way of reducing global warming.

Some 71% of adults say this is the best way of tackling climate change.

A policy, like one just announced by the Labor Party in Victoria, Australia, could be a vote winner here.

In Victoria Labor has pledged a AUD$4000 subsidy in a bid to install solar panels on 650,000 residential homes over 10 years. It is said the panels will save each home AUD$900 a year. The project would employ 4,500 electricians.

A Horizon Research nationwide poll in New Zealand finds solar subsidies for homes the most acceptable of 20 policies polled.

It is one of 10 polling 50% support or higher.

Others in the top 10 include Government subsidies for electric vehicles (59%); Cutting emissions from waste (58%); promoting the adoption of low-emission transport (57%); promoting sustainable development (57%); managing land sustainability (57%); Government subsidies for commercial solar power (57%); helping people and businesses adapt to climate change (54%); identifying climate change risks, including risks to property (52%); making businesses pay for their greenhouse gas emissions, and giving them emissions credits if they reduce them (carbon trading) (50%).

Least acceptable was continuing taxpayer subsidies to large emitters while they work to reduce emissions (17%) along with a tax on fuel to reduce fuel use and emissions by private and commercial vehicles and airlines (20%).

61% of farm owners and managers wanted subsidies to large emitters to continue but 20% only of those who work in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors overall.

Support for solar power subsidies for homes is highest among those who voted for the National (77%) and Green parties (77%), followed by voters for New Zealand First (75%) and Labour (70%).

44% of ACT voters found solar subsidies acceptable.

The following chart shows overall support for each policy option and support among those who voted in the 2017 general election for each party in Parliament,

Which of these ways to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be acceptable to you personally if they would reduce the rate of global warming?ALLPARTY VOTE 2017
ACT New ZealandGreen PartyLabour PartyNational PartyNew Zealand First Party
Government subsidies for residential solar power71%44%77%70%77%75%
Government subsidies for electric vehicles59%20%74%57%58%58%
Cutting emissions from waste58%14%77%58%53%62%
Promoting the adoption of low-emission transport57%29%79%59%49%50%
Promote sustainable development57%28%75%61%56%53%
Managing land sustainably57%24%78%59%53%62%
Government subsidies for commercial solar power57%6%67%58%53%57%
Helping people and businesses adapt to climate change54%51%74%59%52%54%
Identifying climate change risks (including risks to property)52%25%81%64%43%39%
Making businesses pay for their greenhouse gas emissions - and giving them emissions credits if they reduce them (carbon trading)50%21%66%59%43%51%
Government funding research to help develop new emissions reduction technology and practices49%29%85%54%43%41%
Reducing public sector emissions49%49%72%52%50%38%
Introduce new low emission home building standards47%28%75%52%46%44%
Cutting emissions from agriculture and other high-emission industries45%9%83%57%36%49%
Introduce new low emissions standards for buildings used by businesses45%21%74%47%36%44%
Planning to manage higher sea levels44%34%73%53%47%37%
New laws to require low-emission electricity production42%3%67%45%36%38%
New taxes on goods and services which cause emissions or damage the environment34%8%69%42%27%22%
Tax on fuel to reduce fuel use and emissions by private and commercial vehicles and airlines20%0%61%28%14%13%
Continuing taxpayer subsidies to large emitters while they work to reduce emissions17%2%25%18%23%15%
N (unweighted)1,0901815839130088

The survey found 64% of adults nationwide believe climate change is a problem, 29% of them saying it is urgent.

30% say it is a problem for later or not a problem.

Survey detail

Horizon Research surveyed 1,164 adults nationwide between March 20 and 27, 2018. Respondents are members of Horizon’s specialist national online research panel. The survey is weighted by age, gender, educational level, personal income, employment status and party voted for at the 2017 general election to provide a representative sample of the 18+ population at the most recent census. At a 95% confidence level the maximum margin of error is +/- 2.9%.

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