After New Zealand’s new government was formed in October Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern highlighted climate change as a top priority for the coalition.

Among other things she committed to setting a New Zealand target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

In a recent speech the Prime Minister announced that the government had decided not to grant any further oil and gas exploration permits. This year’s offer of exploration permits will be limited to onshore sites in the Taranaki region, the site of New Zealand’s existing oil and gas production.

In her speech (external link),  the Prime Minister  talked more broadly about the challenge climate change presents for New Zealand and other island nations in the Pacific. She also outlined key elements of the government’s plan: a focus on sustainable, low emission agricultural and food production; the launch of a green investment fund to incentivise innovation and investment to produce a carbon-neutral New Zealand economy; a programme of planting one billion trees to reduce erosion and to absorb carbon dioxide; and the formation of an independent Climate Commission of experts who will develop New Zealand carbon budgets through to 2050.

Earlier the government also announced that it would introduce legislation this year for a Zero Carbon Act to set a new emissions reduction target for 2050.

Fuller details of New Zealand’s ambitious climate change programme are available on the website of the Ministry for the Environment here (external link).

And for the latest, read Prime Minister Ardern’s speech – a Pacific perspective on climate change challenges and opportunities (external link) – given to the Institute of Political Studies in Paris on 16 April.