Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing us all and recent extreme weather events that affected us in Kaipara ki Mahurangi, as well as across New Zealand, have emphasised the importance of taking action now. The damage to our local infrastructure is obvious to us all as Minister Michael Wood observed during his recent visit to Tapora and Kaipara Flats.
Meeting the climate challenge has always been a priority for our Government and we’ve taken a range of steps to reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions – from passing the landmark Zero Carbon Act to investing in low-carbon technology, and it’s making a real difference. The most recent data, released earlier this month, shows that the country’s emissions are starting to decline. While it’s encouraging to see that our actions are paying off, we need to keep going.
If New Zealand is to meet our climate goals we need meaningful action to increase renewable energy, such as wind and solar generation. That’s why we’re making changes to Resource Management Act decision-making to expand New Zealand’s renewable electricity infrastructure more rapidly, by cutting red tape.
As we prepare for the future, we also need to back Kiwi businesses to run on, and make products with, renewable sources of energy. Moving away from fossil fuels is good for our environment and helps local businesses maintain their competitive advantage in a world that’s increasingly demanding higher levels of sustainability in the products they buy.
We know that businesses have a lot of competing pressures right now. That’s why our Government has stepped up to help businesses move away from fossil fuels and slash emissions faster.
We recently announced the next round of funding support for businesses across New Zealand. This latest round of projects will reduce carbon emissions by 38,354 tonnes each year, which is equal to taking 14,200 cars off the road – that’s more than the total number of cars in Wanaka. So far, we’ve co-funded 66 major industrial decarbonisation projects in total. The funding included $5 million for Southern Paprika last year that would reduce its carbon emissions by around 16,000 tonnes per year.
The 66 major decarbonisation projects are anticipated to reduce carbon emissions by 391,017 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking approximately 144,700 cars off the road – more than all the petrol vehicles in Hamilton.