Photo by Matthis Volquardsen from Pexels
Photo by Matthis Volquardsen from Pexels

Simon Court: Climate change report should be binned

Opinion 11/06/2021

OPINION: The 400-page report from the Climate Commission this week was so poorly thought out we should shred it and put it in the compost bin.

There is no doubt that New Zealand needs a good and proper response to climate change – this just isn’t it.

The recommendations in this report seek to micromanage the economy. ACT believes there should be a different approach. We should set a cap to reduce emissions in line with our partners, and let New Zealanders choose how they live, travel, and work within that cap.

If the rest of the world wants to decarbonise, then we should track them. It is dangerous for a small trading nation to get out of sync with its trading partners for reasons of diplomacy, trade, and consumer preferences.

The proposals in the Climate Commission report will have consequences for New Zealanders who can least afford it. They will ultimately drive up electricity bills, make cars out of reach for many New Zealanders and result in job losses.

It seems the Government would rather New Zealanders were out of work and shivering through the winter.

We have one planet, every country needs to play its part to reduce emissions. New Zealand produces the most efficient dairy in the world. We could cut back, but the global demand won’t stop. It just means another country with less efficient practices will fill the void. We need to carefully think through the real consequences from our actions.

Whether we like it or not we are a passenger on this journey, our emissions alone will not change the climate.

New Zealand has had a 25 percent increase in coal imports compared with the same quarter last year and a 115 percent increase on coal for electricity generation. This under the same Government who said climate change was its nuclear free moment. The rhetoric just doesn’t match reality. The nuclear free moment is coal powered.

We believe New Zealand must play its part on climate change. But any response must be simple to administer, politically durable, and effective. New Zealand will only prosper if we match our goals with actions which actually benefit the environment.

In place of the Zero Carbon Act, we would introduce a no-nonsense climate change plan which ties New Zealand’s carbon price to the prices paid by our top five trading partners. This will show the world New Zealand is doing its bit. It is a simple and effective response to climate change.

ACT was the only party to vote against the Zero Carbon Act and we got it right.

Written by ACT MP Simon Court. He is a Civil and Environmental Engineer with 23 years’ experience in roles for the private sector and local government. This includes ten years leading engineering, planning, tendering, and construction teams primarily in Auckland, Wellington, and Fiji.

Simon has three boys at high school. They share a love of loud music, fast cars, biking, fitness, good science, and good ideas.

ACT MP Simon Court
ACT MP Simon Court