New Zealand’s center-right National Party released its proposed environmental agenda last week. The center-left Labour Party and the Green Party both denounced it as tepid.
Check out what’s included, and imagine for a moment that it had been offered by Republicans in Congress:
• A legislated target of 50 per cent reduction in carbon emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2050.
• An emissions trading system (ETS). National would amend the Labour scheme within nine months of office.
• Set standards and incentivise biofuel use by exempting it from excise tax or road-user charges.
• Exempting electric cars from road user charges.
• $1000 grants for solar water heating and heat-pump hot water heating.
• A new Environmental Reporting Act which will require the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to conduct independent five yearly State of the Environment Reports.
• Expanding the Environmental Risk Management Authority into an Environmental Protection Agency with added responsibilities including regulation functions of the Resource Management Act and national policy. The EPA would also process major projects consents. The Environment Ministry would be smaller and have an advisory role.
• A new national park in Northland’s Waipoua and surrounding kauri forests and look at a new park on the public lands of the Waitakere Ranges.
• Reduce bureaucratic barriers to community involvement in species recovery efforts.
• Encourage the Department of Conservation to work better with rural communities over conservation while also removing tax disincentives for landowners seeking to improve land management.