'On the right side of history': Jacinda Ardern leads NZ to pass zero carbon bill

‘On the right side of history’: Jacinda Ardern leads NZ to pass zero carbon bill

Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern’s landmark climate change legislation passed through New Zealand’s parliament on Thursday with history-making cross-party support.

The Zero Carbon Bill commits New Zealand to new climate change laws that include reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050, in line with the Paris agreement.

The bill also legislates an independent Climate Change Commission that will be created to steer New Zealand’s policy into the future, along with a requirement that the government set new emission budgets every five years.

Ardern’s Coalition Government, comprised of Labour, the Greens and NZ First, didn’t need the support of the opposition, the National Party, to pass the bill, yet it still passed through the parliament on 119 votes to 1. It’s a clear consensus of support that Ardern hopes will ensure longevity.

“For this generation, this is our nuclear moment,” Ardern said in parliament before the bill was passed.

“We have to start working beyond targets. We have to start working beyond aspiration. We have start moving beyond signs of hope and deliver signs of action. That is what this government is doing and proudly so.”

“Today, we have made a choice that I am proud of,” Ardern said in a passionate speech after the vote. “I hope it means the next generation will see that we were on the right side of history.”

“New Zealand will not be a slow follower.”

Minister for Climate Change James Shaw, said the bill is “the centre for meaningful climate change action in New Zealand.”

“We’ve led the world before in nuclear disarmament and in votes for women, now we are leading again,” he said.

Opposition leader Simon Bridges said he disagreed with some elements of the bill but also noted that it was his party that agreed to the Paris targets in 2016.

“We have taken a bipartisan approach to climate change, but we will continue to fight for the changes we think will make the law better,” he said.

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