New NZ Prime Minister commits to tackling climate change

The new Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has committed to target of making New Zealand carbon neutral by 2050.

Speaking soon after her victory was announced, Ms Ardern said her government would be “absolutely focused on the challenge of climate change”.

“That will include a zero carbon act; that will include an independent climate commission; that will include that we have an all gases, all sectors emissions trading scheme”, she said.

During the election campain, Ms Ardern had spoken strongly on the issue of climate change and the role New Zealand should play in addressing it.

“There will be those who say its too difficult; there will be those who say we are too small and that pollution and climate change are the price of progress. They are wrong.”

Ms Arden formed a ruling coalition last week with the support of the Greens and NZ First. Of the 120 parliamentary seats, Labour won 46, NZ First won nine and the Greens won eight. It is expected that the Greens will provide the Minister for Climate Change, who will be outside the Cabinet. Greens leader, James Shaw, currently spokesman on finance, climate change and economic development, will be one of four Greens Ministers.

“We will take climate change seriously because my government will be driven principle not expediency, and by opportunity not fear. And there is an opportunity that we can turn to our advantage and reshape our identity. It is a transition that can and must be made and it is a transition that can and must be just. This is my generation's 'nuclear free' moment, and I am determined we will tackle it head on.”

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