On Saturday 23 September, New Zealand will go to the polls and decide which parties will lead us through 2018 and beyond.
With so many politicians and policies in the mix, it can be hard to figure out where to place your vote. But voting is one of the most important rights we have in this country and it’s important you have your say.
Think about the issues you’re passionate about and take the time to read up on the facts so you can make an informed decision. Z are passionate about sustainability, and if the environment is something that's important to you, you might be interested to know what the key parties have said about this hot election topic.
To help you out, we’ve put together a quick guide to the key environmental policies of each major party.
Note: It’s impossible for us to capture all the environmental policies in one article. For more info, we encourage you to visit the party’s website.
ACT’s environmental policies align with their overall support for the free market. They believe the less the government interfere in the actions of business and consumers, the better off we’ll be. They want to reduce petrol taxes, but at the same time, introduce user-pays road pricing. Similar policies have been introduced in cities like London and Singapore, and ACT say this will help reduce the number of cars on our roads and therefore reduce carbon emissions.
Protecting the environment is a cornerstone of the Green’s political mantra, and as such, they have many policies aimed at fighting pollution and climate change. They’re big supporters of public transport and have pledged to introduce a new ‘Green Card’ that would make off-peak buses and trains cheaper for young people, students and the disabled. They want New Zealand to be carbon neutral by 2050, and to achieve this, they propose replacing the Emissions Trading Scheme with a carbon tax.
One of Labour’s core policies for this election is their clean rivers initiative. They’ve announced plans to restore New Zealand’s rivers and lakes to “a swimmable state” within a generation through a water royalty programme. They’ve also announced some pretty big public transport projects — light rail from the Auckland CBD to the airport, more bus routes and electric trains, and a passenger rail service in the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga.
The Māori party state they’re committed "to leaving this earth better than how we found it”. They want to protect New Zealand’s freshwater resources by establishing a Minister for Freshwater and giving freshwater the status of tāonga (a treasure). They also want to introduce a levy on tourists that would go towards infrastructure and protecting the environment. They’re in favour of closing all coal fired power plants by 2025, and would champion solar panels instead.
The incumbent government say they will continue to support renewable energy, should they get a fourth term, in line with their target of reaching 90 per cent renewable energy by 2025. They’ve pledged to continue to support the uptake of electric vehicles and have set a target of having 64,000 electric vehicles in New Zealand by 2021. To reach that, they want to ensure one in three vehicles in the government fleet are electric or electric-hybrid by that time. They also want to make some improvements to the Emissions Trading Scheme.
New Zealand First:
NZ First believe New Zealand needs to find "a balance between economic progress and appropriate environmental goals”. This means ensuring that government and industry work together to address pollution, and making sure all key stakeholders have a say in environmental policy. They oppose the Emissions Trading Scheme as they see it as “profiteering from our environment”. Instead, they want to introduce a Parliamentary Commission for Climate Change.
The Opportunities Party:
Gareth Morgan’s TOP party believe economic growth “must not come at the expense of the environment”. Their environmental policies include restricting land use to ensure our rivers are swimmable, and better spatial planning to protect our oceans. They think NZ should be using 100% renewable electricity by 2035, and be fully carbon neutral by 2050. Like the Māori party, they want to introduce a levy on tourists that would be used for infrastructure and biodiversity initiatives and they’re in favour of reforming the Emissions Trading Scheme.
Whoever you decide to vote for on the 23rd, we hope this overview has been helpful.
Remember, this is just a basic introduction to the environmental policies of each party. If you’d like to dig deeper, you can find more information on each party’s website.
Want to know what Z is doing to support the environment and sustainability? Read up on the #WeCanDoBetter initiative, or check out this article on reducing waste to see how you can help build a brighter future for New Zealand.
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