Saturday, May 18, 2024

Luxon – National will Electrify NZ

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National Party leader Christopher Luxon, left, with party deputy leader Nicola Willis. Times photo Wayne Martin
  • By Christopher Luxon, Leader of the National Party and MP for Botany

New Zealand needs to grow its economy while reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and the first part of National’s ‘Electrify NZ’ plan which, I announced last week, will help do that.

It will cut red tape to open the way for a significant increase in investment in renewable energy.

I am deeply committed to New Zealand reaching the emissions reduction targets that National signed up to in the Paris Accords in 2015.

National also voted for the Zero Carbon Act in 2019, supported the Government’s emissions budgets, and I am proud to have embraced and championed sustainability during my time at Unilever and Air New Zealand.

Many Aucklanders and others throughout the North Island were severely affected by the January floods and Cyclone Gabrielle.

These types of weather events are likely to become more common.

New Zealand needs to build more resilient infrastructure to withstand major weather events, as well as continue discussions with landowners, insurers and councils about where it is appropriate to build or rebuild.

In addition, New Zealand has a legal and moral obligation to reduce its emissions to attempt to slow the effects of climate change.

National’s ‘Electrify NZ’ plan will be a big step in helping New Zealand reach its climate change targets.

National wants a future where buses and trains are powered by clean electricity, where we go on holiday in cars powered by clean electricity and where industrial processing plants are powered by clean electricity, not coal.

But to do that, we need to double the amount of renewable electricity we produce from New Zealand’s abundant natural resources – particularly solar, wind and geothermal. National will make it happen.

Imagine for a moment that, overnight, all private petrol-driven cars were replaced by electric vehicles. New Zealand’s electricity system could not cope.

It would have to burn more coal to supply power, electricity prices would shoot up and, in all likelihood, we’d have power cuts.

New Zealand must have enough renewable electricity to meet the rising demand.

The current planning system puts barrier after barrier in the way.

A new wind farm can take 10 years to complete – eight years to obtain resource consent, and two years to build. That’s ridiculous.

The Resource Management Act is the greatest barrier to New Zealand reaching its climate change targets.

Labour’s proposed RMA 2.0 laws will only make this worse
National’s ‘Electrify NZ’ plan will turbo-charge new renewable power projects including solar, wind and geothermal by requiring decisions on resource consents to be issued in one year, and consents to last for 35 years.

National will also unleash investment in transmission and local lines by eliminating consents for upgrades to existing infrastructure and most new infrastructure.

Our Electrify NZ policy will help double the amount of renewable energy available and put New Zealand on track to reach its climate change goals.

Forty per cent of New Zealand’s emissions come from transport and energy.

Switching those sectors to clean electricity could deliver almost a third of the emissions reductions New Zealand needs to reach Net Zero by 2050.

While Labour declared “climate change is this generation’s nuclear free moment”, all they have done in six years is triple coal imports and have hardly made a dent on reducing our emissions.

National is committed to meaningful action on climate change while growing the economy and we will be announcing more plans to lower emissions before the election.

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