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Greenpeace is encouraging the Government to use tomorrow’s Covid-19 budget as an opportunity to future proof New Zealand against climate change.

And it’s asking Kiwis to weigh in with their ideas.

Jacinda Ardern is expected to outline a package of Government spending tomorrow designed to stimulate the economy to get New Zealand through the Covid-19 crisis.

“This virus is a serious threat to vulnerable people and our health services, and they should be first priority. Covid-19 will also impact our economy, of that there is no doubt,” says Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman. 

“We welcome this stimulus package, but we need to make sure it puts Aotearoa in a good place to deal with other existential problems like the climate and biodiversity crises.

“We might not want to hear about it now, but climate change hasn’t gone away. If we manage the stimulus package well, we have a unique opportunity to combat both threats with one stone.”

Greenpeace has come up with a ‘starter pack’ of practical spending measures, which could help transform the New Zealand economy and get the country in better shape for future shocks.

These include boosting funding for insulation and heating, solar and batteries, and electric transport; upgrading New Zealand’s public sector and infrastructure; cash injections for sustainable agriculture production, and protecting the country’s poorest.

Norman says it’s vital that we learn from the lessons of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.

“The GFC saw public funds flow disproportionately to polluting industries, and a redistribution of wealth from society’s poorest to its wealthiest,” he says.

“Right now, we have a chance to add value to the ecological and social support system that we rely on to be safe and to thrive, rather than undermine it.”

Greenpeace wants to start a national conversation about how the money in the Covid stimulus package could be spent, and is inviting New Zealanders to put their thoughts into an idea generator.

“The Covid crisis is a clear and present danger for New Zealanders and the entire world – but the longer term flow-on danger is that we may put money in the wrong places, like old fashioned polluting industries, which makes us vulnerable to future threats,” says Norman.

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