“Any response to climate change needs to based on science, not vague spiritual concepts which don’t lower emissions one bit,” says ACT’s Climate Change spokesperson Simon Court.
“Some of this week’s recommendations for the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan don’t even appear to be related to emissions reduction.
“The Commission says its recommendations are applied within ‘He Ara Waiora – A Pathway Towards Wellbeing’. The report says: “He Ara Waiora is anchored in wairua (energy/spiritual realm) as a source of wellbeing.”
“The report also says something as simple as recycling waste must emphasise whakapapa connections between humans and the natural world: “they are disposed of in a way that causes the least harm to Papatūānuku. In this way, he tirohanga Māori i te para precedes the concept of a circular economy (ōhanga āmiomio) but similarly acknowledges the mauri (life force) of natural resources."
“If the commission wants to be taken seriously it needs to explain how many tonnes of C02 will be reduced by being anchored in a spiritual realm, or why something is going to be recycled more effectively by acknowledging its life force.
“This is why ACT was the only party not to sign up to establishing the commission through the Zero Carbon Act. New Zealand doesn’t need a new bureaucracy proposing policies that are more about social engineering than emissions reduction.
“If the Government wants to take climate change seriously, all it needs to do is announce that emissions under the ETS would be capped at the same level as our trading partners. That would meet our climate commitments and allow consumers to choose how they limit their emissions. If you emit less, you keep more of your own money.
“After all, the climate doesn’t care which country emissions come from, just the overall quantity.
“Other recommendations are a ban on new gas installations, more investment in cycleways (at the expense of roads), and co-governance for agriculture and forestry policy.
“New Zealand needs to focus on building infrastructure that can cope with climate change. Roads, bridges ports and stormwater require billions of dollars over the next decade to future proof towns, cities and regions.
“This Government is only concerned about appearance of environmental progress rather than actual progress. ACT stands for real change in our climate policy, ensuring it is practical, effective, and not going to make life harder for New Zealanders.”