Generation Zero slams the government’s draft emissions reduction plan as weak and failing to live up to its potential, and is urging the government to make the final plan transformational. Spokesperson Adam Currie says “The Emissions Reduction Plan has the potential to set Aotearoa on a Just Transition to a fairer, cleaner future. Unfortunately, the draft Emissions Reduction Plan is a disgrace. In the midst of the climate crisis, it fails to meet even the CCC’s unambitious emissions budgets, completely ignores agriculture - which makes up half of our emissions - and doesn’t do enough to wean our energy system off fossil fuels. The government needs to step up its game, fill the cow-sized hole in the plan and show the leadership New Zealanders deserve.”
Generation Zero welcomes the first step of a 20% target reduction on vehicle kilometres travelled by 2035, but says the ERP doesn’t go far enough in achieving it, and ultimately the transport section of the plan is only a small step when we need bold leadership to decarbonise the transport sector. For example, Generation Zero’s Juliette Hendry says “The Government’s plan commits to ‘reducing public transport fares’ but doesn’t provide specific funding from Waka Kotahi to make this happen.” The plan notes the Government’s Community Connect pilot of a 50% concession to Community Services cardholders in Auckland, and says the Government will consider rolling this pilot out across Aotearoa after the Auckland trial has completed. However, Hendry says this is not enough: “The Government’s plan to wait for the three-year Community Connect pilot to finish and then “consider” reducing bus fares is simply not good enough. We need cheaper bus fares for students and Community Service cardholders now - to reduce emissions and make public transport more accessible for all.”
Hendry says that the final ERP must fund low emissions public and active transport, and bring an immediate hold to the construction of carbon intensive motorways. “The future of transport must involve substituting private vehicle ownership with shared low-emissions infrastructure such as public transport and car sharing schemes alongside active transport.
Generation Zero also says the agriculture section of the draft plan has a ‘cow-sized hole’, relying entirely on the voluntary ‘He Waka Eke Noa’ scheme until at least 2025. Generation Zero spokesperson Adam Currie says “The plan completely fails on agriculture - half of New Zealand’s emissions. The final ERP needs hard-hitting measures to cut agricultural emissions - through nitrogen fertilizer phase-out, reduced herd sizes, and the creation of a regenerative agriculture fund that will transform our farming system and encourage local, sustainable food production.” The plan also misses the opportunity to join up its recommendations on getting organic waste out of landfill and reducing agriculture emissions. “Producing high quality compost from organic waste can offset the use of synthetic fertilisers, sequester carbon in soils and support the transition to regenerative agriculture in Aotearoa.” says spokesperson Adam Currie.
“Generation Zero didn’t start the Zero Carbon Act campaign to end up with a weak, delayed plan that fails to safeguard our collective futures. We need a bold strategy to transform and decarbonise the systems that move us around, power our cities, produce our food, and all the rest “ says Currie. Noting that the final Emissions Reduction Plan will be announced alongside Budget 2022, Currie says “This is the perfect chance to create thousands of clean, living wage jobs in construction, care, gardening, and other restorative mahi that builds a better, fairer Aotearoa”.
About Generation Zero
Generation Zero is a movement of young people mobilising for climate justice.