Submission Guidelines

Submission Guidelines on the Zero Carbon Bill 

Since 2016, Generation Zero has been calling for all political parties to support the introduction of a Zero Carbon Act. We believe a Zero Carbon Act is a key step on Aotearoa New Zealand’s journey to a safe, just and thriving zero carbon future. It is the most urgent and important law our current Parliament could legislate.


We need your help to make the Zero Carbon Act a reality in its strongest possible form. Whether you are a student, parent, worker, business owner, or Member of Parliament, we are all, ultimately, citizens of the same planet.


It's time to get our act together on climate change.


I don’t want you to be hopeful… I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.”

Greta Thunberg


Using these guidelines

We have developed this guide to help you have your say on the draft Zero Carbon Bill. The Environment Select Committee is asking New Zealanders to give feedback on the current draft, and they will use the feedback to make changes. We need to make sure the Bill is more effective and ambitious than the current draft.

For more information on the specific Generation Zero policy position see our outline here - (ADD COPY OF THIS DOC IN ORIGINAL FORM, kept at the bottom of this doc)


Select Committee submissions close 16 July 2019.

Let’s get started

  To make your voice heard...

1) Go to the Environment Select Committee website


2) At the bottom of the webpage, you will see a big green button. Confirm you're not a pesky robot and then click the green button to get started!


3) You simply need to enter some details about who you are and write some comments about the Bill. Add your own thoughts into the two relevant boxes or copy & paste our guidance below.


What to write

The first box.. 










  • You could add why this issue matters to you, how climate change affects you / your community, what climate change means for your future etc. The more personal the better! The Environment Select Committee looks for stories and ideas from a wide range of people so by adding in your own examples it makes your submission more powerful.
  • However, you can also add in some or all this statement below...


I support the Bill’s objective of limiting warming to 1.5ºC.

I believe it is important that Aotearoa New Zealand does its fair share to keep warming under 1.5ºC. It is necessary because of global equity, in light of New Zealand’s relative wealth and historic emissions; climate justice, with regard to communities and people most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and of climate change policies; and intergenerational equity, with regard to the rights of younger and future generations.


I want the Bill to have at its core the importance of Tikanga Māori, Te Tiriti O Waitangi, and Māori interests. It needs to ensure a plan for a just transition of the country’s workforce to a zero carbon economy. It needs to centre the rights of climate-induced migrants, and the particular vulnerability of Pacific Islands to the effects of climate change. And it needs to highlight the importance of conservation and sustainability, with regard to protecting New Zealand’s natural character, waterways, and indigenous flora and fauna.


To limit warming to 1.5ºC, New Zealand has a limit on our total remaining greenhouse gas emissions. Our pathway to net-zero must stay below this limit. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says this pathway requires emissions to halve by 2030 and reach zero before 2050. Aotearoa New Zealand has the tools to achieve deep emission reductions in this timeframe. If we do not take transformative action in the next decade, a net-zero 2050 target will not be enough to limit warming to 1.5ºC.


I want the Bill to ensure that Aotearoa New Zealand’s carbon emissions over the coming decades are consistent with its Purpose. The target of the Bill must be for an emissions pathway that limits our contribution to warming to no more than 1.5ºC. The Climate Commission must ensure we are on the right path towards this Purpose, acknowledging New Zealand’s historical emissions.

The Bill in its current state will not limit warming to 1.5ºC.

[Extra for Experts VERSION below]


The second box… 










  • You could add your thoughts on what changes need to be made to the current draft, where is it failing, what needs to be stronger, what needs to be added or taken out etc…
  • Or copy & paste any of the below statement…

Target & Carbon Budgets

I think the target of this Bill must be to limit warming to 1.5ºC. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports ( are the most authoritative climate science available to us. The IPCC recommendations represent an absolute minimum level of ambition. As a developed nation with large historical emissions, Aotearoa New Zealand must ensure that we don’t emit more than our fair share of the Earth’s remaining emissions before we reach 1.5ºC of warming. The existing targets in the Bill will give long-term certainty, but we need a 2050 target and carbon budgets that reflects the Purpose of the Bill.


I ask the Bill be revised to include:

  • A 2050 target that limits our contribution to warming to no more than 1.5ºC.
  • An interim target for non-methane gases of a 50% reduction of 2017 levels by 2030.
  • A 2050 non-methane target of net-zero before 2050.
  • A 2050 methane target that is consistent with the 1.5ºC target.
  • A requirement for the Climate Commission to determine Aotearoa New Zealand’s total remaining carbon emissions to meet the 1.5ºC target, accounting for historical emissions, by 31 December 2021.


Te Tiriti o Waitangi

I believe the Bill must honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi by giving effect to meaningful partnership between iwi and the Crown; actively recognising the tino rangatiratanga of iwi and hapū; and acknowledging the centrality of tikanga Māori, mātauranga Māori, and Māori worldviews to Aotearoa New Zealand’s climate change response.


I ask that the Bill be revised to include:

  • Clauses that properly honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi


Targets and policy plans

I think that Aotearoa New Zealand’s climate change response has previously been incoherent and inadequate. A strong Zero Carbon Act will introduce accountability, transparency, long-term certainty, and policy coherence to our climate strategy. To achieve this, some of the Bill’s mechanisms need strengthening.


I ask that the Bill be revised to include:

  • Stronger remedies if targets are not met. If the government fails to meet a target, section 5ZJ of the Bill says a court may only issue a declaration of breach. No other remedy is permitted. Section 5ZJ must be removed to allow the court to take other steps.
  • Clear timeframes for the government to make policy plans to meet future budgets. The Bill should set a strict time frame for the government to prepare and publish its policy plans, at least 5 years before the budget period begins.
  • A change to Section 5ZK so that government bodies must take targets and budgets into account.  


Climate Commission

I think that it is important for the Climate Commission to be fully independent from government so that it can provide truly independent advice and hold the government to account.


I ask that the Bill be revised to include:

  • Requirements that the Commission to report to Parliament, not the Minister.
  • Safeguarding the Commission’s funding (like we do for courts) to prevent a government from restricting the Commission by cutting their resources.
  • That the government should be responsible for preparing a National Climate Risk Assessment rather than the Climate Commission. The government has the resources to work with councils, to coordinate data across civil management agencies, and to take on the public relations and legal risk of informing citizens (house prices may plummet following a sea level rise assessment).


Restrict forestry offsets

I am worried that the Bill does not restrict forestry offsets. Overly relying on trees to offset our ongoing emissions is risky and inappropriate because trees are not permanent - they can be lost to fire, pests, and climate impacts. I support tree planting, especially native trees. But they are a poor substitute for actually stopping carbon emissions.


I ask that the Bill be revised to include:

  • A gross emissions target, or a forestry offset cap, to limit our risky reliance on trees.


Prohibit international credits

I think that the Bill saying targets must be met “as far as possible” domestically is vague and unhelpful.


I ask that the Bill be revised to include:

  • The prohibition of the use of international credits to promote long-term certainty and accountability. This is needed to drive domestic action and innovation from local communities and businesses, rather than allowing us to pay other countries to do our work for us.


Include international aviation and shipping

With the urgency of climate change and the need to bring in all sectors, I think that the Bill should include Aotearoa New Zealand’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions.


I ask that the Bill be revised to include:

  • Aotearoa New Zealand’s share of international aviation and shipping emissions, as is the case under the UK Climate Change Act.

[Extra For Experts VERSION below]


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