We have a Big Ask - so what are the answers?

Our previous blog discussed our Big Ask - a Climate Change Act to sign binding emissions targets into law, and establish an independent Climate Commission to provide expert advice and hold the Government accountable.

What do the political parties have to say about this?


National have not supported any part of the proposal at present. When we released The Big Ask report, the NZ Herald asked Minister for Climate Change Issues Tim Groser what he thought of the proposed policies. He responded that “it wasn't New Zealand's place to position itself out ahead of where international negotiations were at”. You can read the Herald piece here.



In its climate change policy Labour explicitly says it will implement legislation to establish a Climate Commission and carbon budgeting, in line with the Big Ask. They have also promised their emissions targets will be more ambitious than the current Government’s.

In their words:

“Labour will by legislation establish an independent Climate Commission, which would establish a carbon budgeting process for achieving significant emissions reduction targets.”


Green Party

The Greens’ Climate Protection Plan shows they also support the Big Ask. They want to increase the ambition of our long-term target to carbon neutrality (that is, zero net emissions) by 2050.

In their words:

“[We will] Establish an independent Climate Commission to provide expert and independent advice to the government on carbon prices, carbon budgets, and complementary measures to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.”


New Zealand First

New Zealand First’s policy is rather more vague but does make explicit reference to following the UK Climate Change Act, on which the Big Ask is based. They support establishing a “formal planning process” which sounds like carbon budgeting, but they are not explicit about establishing a Climate Commission or putting emissions reduction targets in law.

In their words:

“Support the establishment of a formal planning process to develop strategies, plans, research programmes and targets to achieve fossil carbon reduction relevant to New Zealand (the UK already does this under the 2008 UK Climate Change Act).This will involve consultation and debate between government, the business community, universities and other sectors to ensure that the process will be independent and nonpartisan.”


Maori Party

The Maori Party has not yet made any commitment along these lines.


Mana Party

Mana's policy states firm support for the Big Ask. They also endorse a long-term target of carbon neutrality by 2050 like the Greens.

In their words:

“[We will] Develop a plan for serious carbon emission reduction that includes the establishment of a Climate Commission, the adoption of a carbon budgeting process, and a 100% renewable energy goal by 2025.”


Internet Party

The Internet Party seems supportive but their level of commitment is slightly unclear. They have said they “support in-principle the Green Party’s Climate Protection Plan”. When asked about a binding emissions target on AskAway leader Laila Harre said “We could consider binding outcomes”.

In their words:

“New Zealand urgently needs a strategy to achieve a net zero emissions economy. The Internet Party supports the Green Party's call for a 100% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels within New Zealand by 2050, with a two-yearly review of progress towards these national targets and technology incentives so the country can be kept up with the latest developments in science and technology.


United Future

United Future makes no commitments along these lines in their policy, and does not support the proposal at present. When asked about a binding 2050 emissions target they said “We don’t believe such inflexible methods are the best approach for tackling climate change”



ACT doesn't support any aspect of a NZ Climate Change Act.

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  • Malcolm Alley
    commented 2014-11-05 10:26:35 +1300
    If the government does not act in a responsible way to the growing climate threat then they are behaving as Eco-Terrorists or accomplices to this crime as they let major corporations who are doing the polluting bully them in to making radical moves to stop our voices being heard. One such move is the introduction of TPPA which effectively removes the right of ordinary citizens to respond to the threat of pollution damaging our world.

    Binding the Government to a legal agreement such as what the Big Ask is asking for may make them more accountable. But such a legally binding commitment must be as solid and strong as a massive stone which cannot be lifted out of the way in a hurry.