Greenpeace is welcoming the National Party’s new renewable energy policy – ‘Electrify NZ’ – with its focus on increasing renewable electricity generation to replace coal, gas and petrol-fuelled transport.
But the organisation is calling on National to abandon its oil exploration policy and also tackle the bigger climate problem – agriculture.
“After many years of lobbying the National Party, I am pleased that they have finally accepted the need to decarbonise the energy system,” says Dr Russel Norman, Greenpeace Aotearoa Executive Director.
“The direction of travel outlined by National to increase generation of electricity from wind, solar, and geothermal is a real step forward for the party after years of foot-dragging.
“However, the new policy is starkly at odds with National’s promotion of oil and gas exploration. National cannot simultaneously have policies to cut fossil fuel use and increase fossil fuel exploration.
“And when it comes to New Zealand’s emissions, the cow in the corner is agribusiness. The agriculture industry is still responsible for half of New Zealand’s emissions, and the dairy industry is our biggest polluter,” said Norman.
“We are waiting to see if National is willing to tackle Fonterra and produce policy to deintensify the dairy industry, cut synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, and support a transition to ecological farming.”
While we are pleased that National has headed in the renewable direction, there are a lot of outstanding questions about the policy:
- Will National invest more in public transport, walking and cycling given that they have a huge impact on cutting emissions;
- Whether one-year consenting limits will be sufficient with complex renewable projects;
- How the policy stop big gentailers squatting on resource consents for renewables without building them
- The biodiversity impacts of new hydro generation from dams are extreme – which rivers are they proposing to dam, and is it even necessary given all the wind and solar options;
- How much will the government pay to increase transmission infrastructure;
- Whether National has a full solution to the dry year risk problem;
- How the policy will address the lack of proper competition in the electricity ‘market’ which is controlled by a handful of gentailers.
Read Russel Norman’s 2023 speech to the National Party’s Blue Greens conference.