Just Transition

We have established a Just Transitions Unit to help share and coordinate the work of transitioning New Zealand to a low emissions economy.

A low emissions economy

New Zealand is on a path to a low emissions economy. The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019 is now law in New Zealand.  

It introduces the need to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, including grasping the opportunities that it presents, and will shape our transition to a low emissions economy.

Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act(external link) - Ministry for the Environment

Other factors also mean that we need to actively plan for a future economy that is going to look very different in 30 years than it does today. These include new technologies, globalisation and demographic shifts, which will have impacts on the ways New Zealanders work and the jobs they do.

The Government has committed to making this process a “just transition”– one that is fair, equitable and inclusive. A just transition is about making sure that the Government works in partnership with iwi, communities, regions and sectors to manage the impacts and maximise the opportunities of the changes brought about by the transition to a low emissions economy.

Just Transitions Unit

The Just Transitions Unit (JTU) will:

  • focus on the impacts of major climate change policy decisions on households, communities, industries and regions
  • look at opportunities created by the transition to a low emissions economy and the support the Government can provide to aid the transition process, in partnership with iwi, regions, sectors and communities
  • work with other government agencies active in this area, especially the Transition Hub located within the Ministry for the Environment, and Kānoa - Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit..

Just Transitions for Taranaki

The JTU partnered with the Taranaki region to support the co-development of the Taranaki 2050 Roadmap with regional players. The Roadmap sets out the long-term vision for the Region to achieve an equitable, productive and sustainable low-emissions economy - the region’s focus on building a fair and inclusive economy in which no-one across Taranaki’s communities will be left behind. By implementing the Roadmap Taranaki will act as an exemplar for the rest of New Zealand.

MBIE has re-organised how it supports the Just Transitions work, with:

  • the Just Transitions Partnership team which leads the engagement with regional players across the 7 pou, focusing on immediate issues through to the next 5 years, and
  •  the Transitions Strategy team, looking at the approach to transitions over the next 5 to 10 years.

In Taranaki, the shift towards a Just Transition is about partnering with the region’s 7 pou to:

  • Build an understanding of the potential pathways to transform our economy;
  • Identify, create and support new opportunities, new jobs, new skills and new investments that will emerge from the transition; and
  • Better understand how the transition might impact on different communities, regions or sectors and make choices about how we manage these impacts in a just and inclusive way.

The 7 pou comprise:

  1. Local government
  2. Central government
  3. Iwi and Māori businesses
  4. Education providers
  5. Business
  6. Employees / workers
  7. Community organisations

Oil Exploration decision and national Summit in 2019

As a result of the announcement in early 2018 that no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits would be issued, the Just Transitions process is focused on working with the Taranaki region on how a just transition can occur.

The region is a priority for the Government. With funding from the Provincial Growth Fund, Venture Taranaki, the Regional Development Agency for New Plymouth, acts for the other districts in Taranaki in driving the regional engagement.

The Just Transitions Partnership team is collaborating with Taranaki to work through the implementation of its Roadmap.

Taranaki 2050 Roadmap(external link)

Just Transition Summit

The Just Transition Summit was held in New Plymouth on Thursday 9 and Friday 10 May 2019. The summit brought together the main stakeholders from around New Zealand and facilitated a discussion on a just transition with local and global experts.

Just Transitions for Southland

The Government has committed to support a just transition for Southland following the announcement that the owners of the New Zealand Aluminium Smelter at Tiwai Point are planning to close it in December 2024.

Through a Just Transition process for Southland the goal is to build the region’s economic, environmental and social resilience through and beyond the smelter’s planned closure.

Current work

MBIE’s Just Transition Partnership team has been working since the start of 2021 to develop relationships with Southlanders, while embarking on an information gathering process.

To oversee this work, an interim project oversight group for Southland’s transition was set up. This group includes representatives from local government, iwi and central government. In time, the representation will expand to include other parts of the Southland community.

The Just Transition Partnership team are now supporting this group by working to gather information on Southland’s current state. This includes meeting with Southland people, running a series of stakeholder workshops and engaging with Ministers. The process welcomes the input of all Southlanders.

Southland’s Just Transition process is starting from a strong base, with existing strategies, such as SORDS or the work of Murihiku Regeneration, providing an excellent platform. The information that the Just Transition Partnership team are gathering will supplement and build on these strategies to support the identification and advancement of a small number of initiatives that will lift the economic, environmental and social resilience of Southland.

The intention is to develop a work programme for Southland’s just transition that will be agreed to by the end of 2021 and made publicly available, to be governed by an enduring project oversight group.

Supporting documents

Cabinet Paper Just Transition to a Low Emissions Economy: Strategic discussion [PDF, 348 KB]

Cabinet Paper Annex 1 Just Transition to a Low Emissions Economy: Strategic discussion [PDF, 183 KB]

Just Transition Academic Round Table Key Themes [PDF, 148 KB]

Just Transition Unit papers released under the Official Information Act [PDF, 11 MB]

Just Transition Unit presentation [PDF, 1.9 MB]

Just Transitions: Report back and next steps [PDF, 513 KB]

Just Transitions: Report back and next steps - Minute of Decision [PDF, 227 KB]

Contact us

To get in touch with the Just Transitions Unit please email jtu@mbie.govt.nz.

Last updated: 16 July 2021