How refreshing to hear a NZ political party talking about green jobs. The Conservatives in the UK have got a massive policy on green jobs, renewable energy and lowering carbon emissions, Obama has announced billions in this field, Angela Merkel in Germany has made dramatic moves in this are, the Chinese have a 5 Year plan that has bright green written all over it , and even in Australia where the politics of carbon are positively dangerous their carbon tax proposal has 10 billion dollar to lure green business there. Probably from New Zealand! And yesterday the Carbon War Room announced their own private ventures to so this.
And yet the issue of green jobs has seldom been debated here. The large renewables sector that we have has not been sold to the world even though Meridian has shown just how possible that is beyond our borders. And the fact that electric vehicles fit our profile and tens of thousands of them could come into the country and use cheap renewable energy at night with the existing electricity network has escaped any attention at a time when the alternatives to fossil fuel become more attractive. Wind and electric cars for example work very well together.
But apart from the insulation program (which is great) there has been nothing to help the green energy sector. In fact the one useful tool, the Research and Development tax credit has been abolished by the National Government.
In the rush to open up hazardous offshore drilling, and get some more of those mining companies who have so compromised the decisions of the Australian people into the country to dig up a bit more of high grade conservation land, and to develop the incredibly dirty lignite, the opportunities that have New Zealand’s name on them have been completely overlooked.
So how refreshing it was to hear the Greens announce such a program today. Nice to hear the Greens focus on business actually because its a linkage that’s been missing until recently.
So in celebration of the fact that they did so, we print their summary below:
“We need a pragmatic economic strategy to help New Zealand succeed in a competitive global economy — a global economy that is turning increasingly green.
The OECD has recognized that New Zealand’s long term competitive advantage lies in safeguarding our natural resources through mutually supportive economic and environmental policies. They recognize that our economy is our environment and that our 100% Pure brand is invaluable in a world worried about carbon emissions, water shortages, and contaminated food.
The current Government’s economic approach has been to risk our brand for the sake of a quick buck. The majority of our lowland rivers are now polluted due to the unregulated expansion of our dairy industry. Three lignite plants are under consideration and will escalate our contribution towards climate change. The Government is spending $20 billion on new state highways while our trains remain an international embarrassment. And plans for deep-sea oil drilling are being fast-tracked despite what just happened with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
What we’re going to do about it
The Green Party has a plan to create 100,000 new green jobs — a plan that will add resilience to our economy and protect our natural environment, without going further into debt.
We’ll create 100,000 new jobs through direct government investment, changing the way our state-owned energy companies work, and shifting the drivers for green jobs in the private sector.
How we’re going to do it
Our plan is detailed and fully-costed. It includes plans for direct government investment, building sustainable infrastructure, supporting the greening of our small and medium enterprises (SMEs), driving innovation, introducing smarter regulation, getting the prices of resources and pollution right, protecting our brand, reforming capital markets, making our workplaces fairer, and measuring progress differently.
Here are three of the highlights:
→ Direct investment
We will ramp-up the Heat Smart home insulation program ensuring it is rolled out to a further 200,000 homes over the next three years, costing $350 million and employing 4,000 people directly — 10,400 if you include indirect and upstream employment effects.
→ Keep it Kiwi
We will retain ownership of our state-owned enterprises while creating the right incentives for them to partner with clean tech entrepreneurs in the private sector and develop renewable energy solutions that we can patent and export abroad. With the right incentives in place, if we can capture just 1% of the global market for renewable energy solutions, we’ll create a $6 to $8 billion export industry employing 47,000–65,000 people in new green jobs.
→ Support for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
Through a mix of government procurement policies, tax incentives, start-up funding, and a $1 billion boost to R&D funding, we’ll support SMEs to step up and drive new job creation in the cleantech sector.
To view the full plan, visit greens.org.nz/greenjobs.
Article by Vicki B., appearing courtesy Celsias.