Low-emissions Economy Draft Report Released

27 April 2018

The Productivity Commission released its draft Low-emissions Economy report today. The report presents a series of draft findings into research commissioned by the then Government to look at the opportunities that may exist for the New Zealand economy to “maximise the benefits and minimise the cost that a transition to a lower net-emissions economy offers, while continuing to grow income and wellbeing”. The Commission is seeking submissions on the draft report, which close on 8 June 2018.

The Commission’s substantial report considers pathways to a low-emissions economy, policies and institutions, the sources of emissions and associated opportunities and how to achieve a low-emissions economy. Emission sources include landuse, transport, electricity generation, heat and industrial processes, waste and the built environment.

The Commission makes 140 findings, 50 recommendations and asks 11 questions, concluding that move to a low-emissions economy will require:

  • Pricing,
  • Innovation,
  • An ongoing commitment which transcends changes in government, and
  • A supporting regulatory framework.

Several recommendations traverse matters related to the NZ planning system, including that local authorities should be given greater support to regulate farm dumps and other unknown waste disposal sites through the RMA and the Waste Minimisation Act. The Commission also recognises that “changes to land use and land transport will be critical contributors to any national emissions-reduction strategy…” and “local government will therefore need to be appropriate included in any national climate change strategies”.

A number of the questions asked by the Commission are indirectly related to the NZ planning system, for example how the existing system regulates carbon capture systems. However, one question explicitly asks whether decision-making under the RMA with regard to renewable electricity generation and the clarity/strength of direction in the NPS for Renewable Electricity Generation.

Click here for further information about the Productivity Commission’s report