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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

Hon JULIE ANNE GENTER (Green): Tēnā koe, Madam Speaker. Tēnā koutou e te Whare. This bill is perfectly reasonable. The Green Party is supporting the bill. It is something that we’ve been talking about for quite a long time, the importance of both managing a transition away from fossil fuels and ensuring resilience and security of supply during that transition. Of course, we should have started planning for this a long time ago—20 years would have been good. Back in 2008, I remember, as oil prices were shooting through the roof, I was working as a consultant to the New Zealand Transport Agency, which had just been formed, on managing transport challenges as oil prices rise. Everything that we laid out in that report is still absolutely relevant today. We knew that there could be sudden disruptions to the supply of fossil fuels, because our transport system is so heavily reliant on fossil fuels, which is not inevitable—it doesn’t have to be that way; that’s a consequence of decisions that previous Governments and local governments made. We could have a transport system that is much less reliant on fossil fuels.

Indeed, we will have to have one that is much less reliant on fossil fuels and can use clean, renewable electricity but also one that moves people and goods at much lower energy cost. We can do that in our towns and cities and have massive benefits, because it means more people-friendly cities with really excellent public transport, with walkable neighbourhoods, with cleaner air, and with quieter neighbourhoods.

And in terms of moving goods, we obviously need to have a joined-up approach where we’re looking at the opportunities to really utilise coastal shipping, which will also help us with resilience to events that disrupt the road network—whether that be earthquakes or heavy-rain events. We did see coastal shipping was very instrumental in keeping the South Island and North Island connected after the Kaikōura earthquake and in the wake of—

Hon Gerry Brownlee: What a load of—

Hon JULIE ANNE GENTER: Well, I mean it was necessary. There obviously wasn’t a built-up system of coastal shipping services, because the Government didn’t do anything to prepare for that or plan for that. But sea freight will be vitally important as a means of resilience and as a means of transition, and joining up rail and sea freight will be really important.

I am intrigued at the ACT Party’s philosophy, because, on the one hand, they don’t think Government should be responsible for anything or planning anything, but, on the other hand, when the Marsden Point oil refinery closed down, which was entirely privately owned, they are somehow blaming the Government for that. It just doesn’t add up, this philosophy. The truth is there’s a bunch of things that we do better together, and that’s the role of Government, and that’s why we collectively pool our resources to pay for infrastructure and services that we can pay for together. And there is a role for the private sector in working alongside and partnering to supply some things.

But, ultimately, it’s us together through this democratic process who determine what our goals are. And one of the goals that we have is transitioning to a resilient economy that is net zero, which means we’ll be able to protect our climate, look after our environment, and look after our people. It is absolutely untrue that we need to somehow allow those extracting fossil fuels to not pay their fair share from extracting those, which is why the bill last night made sense, closing a loophole to make sure that new gas that’s extracted is all subject to the same royalty rate, and it makes sense for us to work together. So the Green Party supports the bill.