Land and resource use delivers greater value and improves environmental outcomes

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This economic shift means: 

  • Shifting land use to higher value use while maintaining and improving our environment
  • Redesigning our activities to minimise waste
  • Transitioning to a low emissions economy.

Emissions Trading Scheme reform

The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is a key tool to support New Zealand in meeting emissions reduction targets and transitioning to a low-emission future. This reform requires amending the Climate Change Response Act (the establishing legislation for the NZ ETS) to ensure the scheme is robust and fit-for-purpose, and to provide certainty to the market of the long term credibility and effectiveness of the NZ ETS.

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Zero Carbon Bill and Climate Change Commission

The purpose of the amendment bill is to provide a framework by which New Zealand can develop and implement clear and stable climate change policies that contribute to the global effort under the Paris Agreement to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The amendment bill will:

  • Set a new greenhouse gas emissions reduction target

  • Establish a system to set a series of emissions budgets to act as stepping stones towards the long-term target

  • Require the Government to develop and implement policies for climate change adaptation and mitigation

  • Establish a new, independent Climate Change Commission to help keep successive governments on track to meeting long-term goals.

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Resource Management Act reform

The Government is working to improve our resource management system.

We are focusing on reform of the Resource Management Act (RMA) to:

  • Support a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy
  • Be easier for New Zealanders to understand and engage with.

Stage 1 of the reforms involves legislative change to address issues with resource consenting, enforcement and Environment Court provisions within the RMA.

Stage 2 of the reform is a comprehensive review of the RMA to examine the broader and deeper changes needed to support the transition to a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy. The aim is to improve environmental outcomes and enable better and timely urban development within environmental limits.

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Essential freshwater: healthy water, fairly allocated

The Essential freshwater programme aims to:

  • Stop further degradation in water quality and start making immediate improvements so that water quality is materially improving within five years

  • Reverse past damage to bring New Zealand’s freshwater resources, waterways and ecosystems to a healthy state within a generation

  • Address water allocation issues.

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Productive and Sustainable Land Use Package

Budget 2019 funded the $229 million Productive and Sustainable Land Use package to deliver the Government’s goals for freshwater, climate change, and for the land-based sectors. The package includes major complementary initiatives in the Agriculture, Environment and Climate Change portfolios.

The $122.241 million Productive and Sustainable Land Use Agriculture initiative will support and enable farmers and growers to adapt to a rapidly changing operating environment and transition smoothly to more productive and sustainable land use and farming systems. It will help ensure:

Farmers and other land users can meet environmental bottom lines and remain prosperous
Every farmer has a way forward to achieve these goals including changing land use if necessary
The impact of changing land use on land users, their families and communities is managed in a just and sustainable way.

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Waste and resource efficiency work programme

The Government’s waste programme focusses on key actions to support the transition to a more sustainable economy. Our key initiatives include:

  • Expanding the Waste disposal levy and improving our data on waste

  • Improving domestic and commercial recycling processes and practices

  • Analysing investment in innovation and infrastructure to support the transition to a circular economy

  • Implementing product stewardship schemes for waste such as tyres, e-waste, and chemicals

  • Developing a circular economy strategy, starting with priority sectors where greater benefits from circular economies are available.

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Biodiversity Strategy

The Government is committed to protecting and enhancing our biodiversity. DOC is leading a consultation for an action plan from 2020. New Zealand’s last biodiversity strategy laid out actions to protect our nature until the end of 2019.

The new strategy will set a vision and guide our biodiversity work for the next 50 years.

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Crown Minerals Act review

Tranche Two of the Crown Minerals Act 1991 (the CMA) review is the second stage of a two-stage legislative review that began with the decision to limit new petroleum exploration permits to onshore Taranaki. Tranche Two is intended as a wide ranging review that will consider factors that will impact the CMA, both now and into the future.

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Resource Strategy

Government is developing a Minerals and Petroleum Resource Strategy for New Zealand, setting out the Government’s vision for the minerals and petroleum sector over the next 10 years.

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