Wide gap between aspiration and action in emissions reduction plan

The Public Service Association believes the government’s consultation document on an emissions reduction plan shows a wide gap between its aspiration for a just transition to low emissions and its plan for delivering it.

PSA national secretary Erin Polaczuk says, "What ends up in this plan will affect every part of our society. It is vital that we all have our say.

PSA members work the length and breadth of Aotearoa, with whānau and communities who will all need to face the challenges that our changing climate will bring.

There are so many actions we can put into place that will not only reduce our emissions but reduce inequalities.

We need to embrace just transitions for working people and communities where major industries close or where climate forces cause disruption. The costs of the necessary changes that deliver all of us a more stable climate must be spread evenly, and not fall disproportionately on working people and those on low incomes.

We know what can happen when we don’t do that. In the 1980s meatworks in New Zealand started closing down, leaving thousands out of work and small towns struggling and dying. Those shocks have inter-generational effects. We must not let that happen again.

It’s good to see that the government has broadly accepted the Climate Change Commission’s advice on emissions budgets. However, the discussion document contains a lack of tangible actions to make the emission reductions we need, in a way that’s just and equitable.

This consultation is the opportunity for Aotearoa to say what we want in the final plan. The PSA wants to see a more ambitious plan for achieving low-emissions and a climate-resilient future.

The voices and contributions of working people need to be present at all decision making points involving just transition planning. The PSA encourages every New Zealander to share their thoughts, ideas and hopes with the government, and will be supporting its members to participate in the process."