Our quality of life is decreasing and we’ve failed to take up profitable green opportunities according to the report into ‘New Zealand’s position in the Green Race’, the first document of its kind which is being welcomed by environmental organisations and businesses.
Compiled by not for profit organisation Pure Advantage, a group of prominent New Zealand businessmen, the report serves as an evaluation of New Zealand’s environmental performance and is hoped to become a conversation starter about energy efficiency, renewable energy, green jobs and green economy opportunities.
Pure Advantage Trustee Sir Stephen Tindall says global green growth is potentially worth NZ$6 trillion a year and represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for New Zealand to improve both its economy and environment.
But the country, long purported as ‘100% Pure’, has continued to slide down the OECD economic performance tables and along with it, our quality of life.
The report claims successive governments have failed to make the long term strategic decisions needed to address New Zealand’s economic demise, while at the same time missing opportunities to keep the country green and clean.
Bioenergy Association of New Zealand (BANZ) executive officer Brian Cox welcomes the report’s inclusion of the important role of renewable energy and estimations showing biomass could account for 100 per cent of New Zealand’s liquid fuel needs, 100 per cent of heating and 73 per cent of the country’s total electricity generation.
“BANZ shares Pure Advantage’s belief in the need to pursue green growth from renewable energy sources. This will both improve New Zealand’s energy security and help our balance of payments. The report highlights how our existing skills in areas such as bioenergy, as well as continued development and investment in the industry, will help New Zealand capitalise on the move towards green growth.”
WWF – who recently released the Beyond Rio report highlighting New Zealand’s poor environmental effort since the 1992 earth summit – has also applauded the report and hopes it will “kick-start” a transition to a greener, low carbon economy “based on a partnership between government, business and society more broadly.”
Climate change campaigner for WWF New Zealand, Peter Hardstaff, says potential gains from low carbon development are too significant to ignore.
He cites a 2009 PricewaterhouseCoopers paper for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise which estimated with the right policies New Zealand’s clean technology sector could be worth between NZ$7.5 billion and NZ$22 billion to the economy by 2015.
“The opportunities for New Zealand are huge yet the current government has failed to grasp this potential and is instead fixated on expanding digging, drilling and dairying,” says Hardstaff.
He says the Green Growth Advisory Group convened by the government last year was unable to begin building the country’s much needed low carbon strategy and vision because its terms of reference were so narrow.
“WWF supports Pure Advantage’s call for the business community to step in and demonstrate what’s possible. We urge our political leaders to take up the challenge and opportunities of building a cleaner, safer future for New Zealanders.”
To read the full report click here.