This submission in response to the Natural and Built Environment Bill is made by The New Zealand Initiative, a Wellington-based think tank supported primarily by major New Zealand businesses. The Initiative has been deeply concerned about resource management policy and practice since its establishment in 2012. Read more
The New Zealand Initiative is committed to a better New Zealand for all New Zealanders. That means a country that is both prosperous and able to live within its environmental limits.
Too often, economic development is seen as being at odds with environmental sustainability. Long term economic development cannot undermine New Zealand’s environmental capital; growth based on eroding our shared environment cannot be sustained.
Solutions to environmental problems must also be economically sustainable. Finding the most cost-effective ways of improving environmental quality is critical if we want to do the most we can to maintain and improve the environment.
Climate policy has been an area we have championed. A few years ago, The New Zealand Initiative was a lonely voice emphasising the importance of the Emissions Trading Scheme as the best tool to cut emissions. We have warned against introducing other, often expensive, policies that are incompatible with our world-leading cap-and-trade system.
Our work in this area has gained support among politicians and organisations such as BusinessNZ and the Taxpayers’ Union, as Kiwis begin to question climate policies that purport to reduce emissions, but cannot do so under the ETS cap.
Our work in fisheries management pointed to collaborative solutions respecting both the quota rights of commercial fishers and Kiwis’ birth right to a sustainable recreational fishery.
Our ongoing work in water management looks to cap-and-trade solutions that encourage those able to reduce the burden on each water catchment to do so, while respecting the long-established water drawing rights of those with current consents and recognising iwi claims to water. And our work in electricity generation suggests ways of working with the electricity market to make the most effective transition to a more renewable future rather than relying on regulatory imperatives that cost more while doing less.
New Zealanders deserve a pristine and prosperous country. We can have both.