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Leadership Required For Action On Climate Change

Urgent Leadership Required on All Fronts for Action on Climate Change

Tariana Turia, Energy Spokesperson for the Maori Party

Friday 6 October 2006

The Maori Party today congratulated the Labour and National parties on their efforts to adapt to an energy-constrained world.

“We are pleased that both parties have picked up the challenge to reduce government, personal and business dependence on oil” said Tariana Turia, Maori Party energy spokesperson.

“Both parties have identified the catastrophic rate at which greenhouse gas emissions are increasing in Aotearoa, and the environmental and economic imperative of addressing that”.

“We hope their interest will be a sustained effort, because this issue requires long-term commitment, vision and investment” said Mrs Turia.

“A society in which financial measures are but one indicator of genuine progress will ensure New Zealand’s future in a low-energy sustainable world” said Mrs Turia.

“The Maori Party has been saying for over eighteen months now, that the production of oil and natural gas will peak, climate change is worsening and that we need to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure the well-being and future good health of the environment”.

“Our key message has been that we must radically reduce levels of consumption, promote greater local self-reliance, and learn to utilise our natural resources in a sustainable, environmentally considerate manner”.

“We know also that the real balance of accounts for Aotearoa, recognises that the economic impact of doing nothing about climate change adds another cost on the negative indices” said Mrs Turia.

“We take on board the advice from Greenpeace that we have a ten-year window to act responsibly, and should use this time wisely in our promotion of energy efficiency and renewable energy” said Mrs Turia.

“To this end, the Maori Party recommends, again, the urgent need to establish a Cross-Party Parliamentary Commission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Parliament needs to signal it is prepared to take a collaborative, united approach towards the most critical issue facing our future sustainability”.

“The Government has made broad promises to ‘engage with the wider public, industry and business” and “focus on international engagement” but without any detail of how to do that” said Mrs Turia.

“An announcement that they are willing to work co-operatively and responsibly with all parties in Parliament to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the long term would be a sign of real and genuine progress” said Mrs Turia.

“If the Government is really intent on gaining wide support for actions, including price-based, regulatory and voluntary measures, they need to show they are sincere in their commitment” said Mrs Turia.

“The Party that has been most committed to this issue has always been the Green Party” said Mrs Turia. “In reality, they are the ones who have provided real leadership on climate change, and we suggest they would be the ideal people to lead the Cross-Party Parliamentary Commission”.

Cross-Party Parliamentary Commission on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

The terms of reference for such a Commission could include

o Investigate the full range of renewable energy sources;

o Initiate proactive research strategies to achieve vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce vehicle emissions;

o Implement changes required such as developing options to support cheap/free regular, reliable and frequent public transport,

o develop immediate timelines for action;

o investigate options for reducing speed limits to 90kms to maximise efficiency;

o prepare a rationing system as required by the International Energy Agency ;

o explore bulk purchasing of efficient vehicles to lease/sell to low income buyers at costs they can afford.

o promote further development of cheap/free regular, reliable and frequent public transport, telecommuting, fully connected off-road tracks and walkways;

o encourage support for the rail infrastructure to deliver a better service and thereby reduce the number of cars on the road;

o reduce our dependence upon over 500,000 everyday oil-based items by developing strategies to reuse, recycle, repair, respect, replace, and trade local through information and education.

The Commission would have the facility to co-opt independent advisors such as the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, or representation from specialist groups such as the Sustainable Energy Forum.

The Commission would work responsibly with hapu and iwi Maori in designing energy options for future sustainability.

Ends


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