Generation Zero’s big ask for NZ’s government

22 July 2014

The Big Ask is a call to change: asking for a new law that will hold our Government to its promises and ensure New Zealand has a credible plan for climate action.

Youth organisation Generation Zero has recently released a report, which calls for a new law that will hold the Government to its promises to reduce carbon pollution and ensure New Zealand has a credible and integrated plan for climate change action.

The 20-page report, The Big Ask: One Key Step for Real Climate Action, explores how Denmark has developed and implemented its world-leading plan for fossil fuel independence by 2050, before examining the UK’s Climate Change Act. The report recommends that New Zealand join other countries that have implemented similar laws based on the UK model.

The Climate Change Act would require carbon pollution targets to be signed into law, and calls for the establishing of an independent Climate Commission to provide expert advice on climate policy.

Co-author of the report, Paul Young, says,

“By law, the Government would be required to produce evidence-based plans showing how it intends to meet its pollution reduction targets.”

“What this would mean is greater accountability, transparency, coherence and certainty around Government policy on climate change. It’s about taking some of the politics out of the issue and getting on with the job.”

The report includes a foreword by economist and author Gareth Morgan, who gives his “wholehearted support” to the idea, likening it to New Zealand’s move to make the Reserve Bank independent from Government in 1989.

Dr Morgan says: “We currently have a target for emissions reductions, and no apparent plan or realistic chance of getting there. This is just dishonest and deceitful.”

“If we aren’t serious about reducing pollution, let’s say so and drop our targets. If we are serious, let’s get a plan and put in place a transparent way of holding ourselves to account for achieving it,” he says.

The Big Ask is the follow up to an earlier report released in May, A Challenge to Our Leaders, which unveiled official projections showing that current Government policies will do virtually nothing to reduce pollution; and would see New Zealand vastly overshooting its emissions targets.

“It’s time for New Zealand to wake up and start making genuine efforts to transition to a low carbon, clean energy economy.

“Action is picking up around the world and not only is it morally indefensible for New Zealand to continue delaying, we’re missing out on big opportunities that smart countries like Denmark are grabbing.

“We look forward to hearing whether political parties will commit to supporting this simple but powerful legislative step in the next term of government,” says Paul.

Generation Zero is inviting other organisations to formally endorse the Big Ask.

You can download the report by clicking here.