Labour has released its climate change policy, promising to lower carbon emissions to 1990 levels if elected into government.
Announcing the policy in Christchurch this morning, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said the party would set a target of making the country carbon neutral by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.
Agriculture would gradually be included in the emissions trading scheme (ETS) by the end of the party’s first term, starting with giving the sector 90 percent of emissions free.
Emissions targets would also be set in law, Ms Ardern said.
“For too long, we have set targets and not done what’s needed to achieve them.
“That’s why Labour will set up an independent Climate Commission to examine what reductions can practically be achieved by each sector and recommend emissions reductions targets.
“For agriculture, a gradual introduction of the price signal from the Emissions Trading System, starting with giving the sector 90 percent of emissions free, will help bring emissions down without hurting agriculture’s contribution to the economy.”
Under Labour’s policy, lower-emission farmers would be rewarded with a lower cost through the ETS.
Labour said New Zealand’s net emissions had risen 64 percent since 1990 and 21 percent since 2008.
In a speech to supporters last month Ms Adern marked climate change as her generation’s nuclear-free moment.
In last night’s third leaders debate, she reiterated Labour’s commitment. “If you want clean rivers, if you want action on climate change… if you want jobs and growth, then this is our moment,” she said.