“The targets set by James Shaw under the Zero Carbon Act were never achievable and the High Court’s recent ruling proves it. It is nothing but expensive climate-change performance art,” says ACT’s Climate Change spokesperson Simon Court.

“Lawyers for Climate Action NZ went to the High Court challenging advice given to the Government by the Climate Change Commission on how to reach net zero emissions by 2050, as required by the Act. Justice Jill Mallon found that the advice wouldn’t put New Zealand on track to meet its targets, nor did the Zero Carbon Act actually require it to in order to contribute to the global 1.5 degree effort.

“Her judgement also said: “I therefore consider that the Commission’s Advice was potentially misleading (particularly lay readers or anyone without the time to read the Advice in its full detail) to the extent that it could be interpreted as advice that reductions of 36 per cent below 2005 gross levels would be compatible with the IPCC 1.5˚C global pathways and therefore the 1.5˚C global effort. However, as that Advice has since been considered by the Minister, the real question now must be whether the Minister was misled by the Advice when considering New Zealand’s revised NDC.”

“For all his pronouncements about a climate emergency, and the Prime Minister’s claim that climate change is a “nuclear-free moment”, the Government’s climate show is nothing but an elaborate political performance.

“There is no need to carry on with the charade that the Zero Carbon Act is anything more than a costly excuse for more bureaucracy with no impact on emissions. Other parties should be prepared to have an honest conversation on climate change like ACT is.

“ACT was the only party brave enough to vote against the Zero Carbon Act. We said at the time it is a classic case of being seen to do something, while achieving nothing.

“New Zealand is in the midst of a cost of living crisis and households are screaming out for more money in their back pocket. New Zealand needs to play its part when it comes to reducing emissions, but the Zero Carbon Act replicates the efforts of a capped Emissions Trading Scheme at enormous expense to taxpayers.

"ACT proposes a realistic, no-nonsense climate change policy that matches our efforts with our trading partners’ with minimal bureaucracy. We should set a cap on total emissions in line with the actual reductions of our trading partners, then allow New Zealanders to import high quality foreign carbon credits so we pay the world price, not an artificial price.

“Other parties are more concerned about appearance of environmental progress 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.

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Simon Court