National | Business

Zero Carbon Bill passes first reading

The Zero Carbon Bill has passed its first reading in parliament with 119 votes to one.

The bill sets a target of 10 percent reduction in biological methane emissions by 2030 and aims for a provisional reduction ranging from 24 percent to 47 percent by 2050.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says Māoridom has raised many key points and concerns around the bill.

"Māori are very interested in ensuring that there is an ambitious plan for climate change because Māori interests are so affected by climate change."

He says key concerns include food and water security, the potential impact on businesses, the issue of rising sea levels and waterways and the impact of natural disasters.

"Of course a lot of marae were situated very close to the sea in order to access the sea and fishing and so on.  Now that the sea levels are rising that's leading to increased flood events, erosion and damage to buildings and property and of course that trend is only set to continue."

Forest & Bird

Forest & Bird spokesperson Geoff Keey was pleased to see the Zero Carbon Bill pass its first reading in parliament yesterday.

"We know healthy native forests, oceans and coastlines are essential for soaking up carbon and protecting us from floods and storms, but right now our native species are already in serious trouble and climate change could be the nail in the coffin," says Keey.

"We need to make sure our efforts to reduce emissions don't harm nature by spreading wilding pines or building dams that destroy native habitat.  That would be a continuation of the short-term thinking that is causing run-away climate change."

Public to have their say

Shaw is also urging New Zealanders to engage with the bill as it passes through parliament by having their say in the select committee process.

"All of us have a part to helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limiting global temperature increases," he says.

"That includes New Zealanders making their contribution to see the Zero Carbon Bill become law by the end of this year."