Today, The Opportunities Party (TOP) announces its 2023 climate policy ‘Climate Opportunities’. The policy suite includes three ‘system-level’ policies for emissions reduction and several areas of focus for climate adaptation. The policy is centred around emissions reductions via three pathways:
- Empowering farmers to be biodiversity champions via a national system rewarding the native regeneration of landscapes.
- Strengthening the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to drive emissions reductions rather than incentivise offsetting.
- Electrifying our streets with a 100% zero-emission bus fleet by 2030, supported by a national bus charging network.
“Climate change is the defining challenge of our time. We have a responsibility to current and future New Zealanders to reduce emissions, regenerate our environment and prepare our communities for a net-zero world” said Raf Manji, Leader of The Opportunities Party. “Our three emissions reductions policies demonstrate our party’s commitment to system-level change through bold, creative solutions and smart investment.”
In addition to TOP’s three emissions reduction policies, the party has outlined several areas of focus for adaptation including a review of urban planning practices, urban greening, managed retreat, green finance, collaboration with the insurance industry, national security and development of a policy for internal and external climate refugees.
On his party’s plan for a national system of biodiversity credits, Manji says “our farmers are already on a sustainability journey. What they need now are carrots – financial incentives and support services that empower them to transition their marginal land back into natives. Farmers are key to unlocking the carbon sequestration, biodiversity and other benefits in our landscapes.”
TOP’s policy to strengthen the Emissions Trading Scheme and drive reductions faster will focus on excluding new forestry offsets, capping units, enabling the Climate Commission to set carbon prices through a new Official Carbon Rate (OCAR) and re-investing more of the scheme’s revenues into renewable energy development, emissions free transport and a carbon dividend.
The party’s final emissions reduction policy is the rollout of a government-funded scheme for zero-emission urban buses nationwide by 2030. The scheme brings forward the Government’s current goal of decarbonisation of the public transport bus fleet by five years, and looks to completely fund regional councils to make the switch. With an estimated 3,000 buses by 2030, the annual reduction in CO2-e emissions would be approximately 171,000 tonnes, or the equivalent to taking 75,000 petrol cars driven for one year, taken off our roads. Supported by investment in a national bus charging network, the policy would cost approximately $2.5 billion.
The Opportunities Party is committed to making public transport more affordable, accessible and greener, with an additional pledge to fully fund public transport for young people through our Teal Card policy.
“‘Climate Opportunities’ is a comprehensive and effective approach to addressing climate change in New Zealand,” said Manji. “It’s backed by the most recent Climate Change Commission report and delivers the kind of system-level changes that set-up our farmers, businesses and citizens for life in a climate resilient world.”