Climate crisis cancelled: Greens agree

Climate Crisis

Climate change is a serious matter, one which we need to get practical resolve on, National MP, Gerry Brownlee said Thursday in a conversation with Green MP, Golriz Ghahraman.

He made the comments on a new podcast, “The Backroom of Politics”.

However, while taking climate change seriously, Brownlee says he does not use the term Climate Crisis because it frightens people too much, it disempowers people and implies we cannot do anything to make things better.

Ghahraman agreed.

“The research shows the ‘crisis’ word is disempowering.”

“We need to start using a different word.”

“It’s the balance between treating it as a really really serious thing and also helping to motivate change and action,” she said.

Brownlee acknowledged there were ‘deniers’, but that he is not one of them.

He said it is not possible to ignore, the change in weather patterns and the merging of seasons that we are seeing.

Brownlee’s view is there is little difference in intent between National and the Greens, rather it is more of a matter of how the two parties propose reaching the goal.

“National signed the Paris Agreement, we support the Zero Carbon Act, we supported the establishment of the Climate Change Commission, although I think it has become more activist than advisory, and we support the 2050 Zero Carbon target.”

Electric vehicles

One of the differences of approach the MP’s discussed is how to make a significant change to New Zealand’s carbon output.

Addressing the issue of electric vehicles Ghahraman said “We’re not going to see Climate Change addressed with a subsidy on electric cars.”

But, “We need the Government to start somewhere to help people, across the board, make better decisions.”

Ghahraman says New Zealanders do not necessarily want to have high emitting vehicles and rather than the EV subsidy policy, she prefers, that “finally”, the government is going to initiate standards on the vehicles New Zealand imports.

“This is something we are really really behind on,” she said.

Ghahraman says it is the role of the government to regulate in order to lead to a greener future.

She admits she is concerned that EV’s are not affordable to most New Zealanders.

Brownlee said he disagreed with the Government’s approach in providing a subsidy for low-emission vehicles.

He said that even the Transport Minister admits that when the scheme is ‘fully up and running’, it will make only a .04% difference to New Zealand’s emissions profile.

“People want practical things they can do that might change our emissions profile,” Brownlee said.

He questioned whether moving to EV’s is something most New Zealanders will do, adding the country also has a supply shortage of electricity.

Proud of his party’s achievement in Government, Brownlee pointed out that four years ago the country had a 90% rate of renewable energy, but now we have just 70%; adding the country is burning imported coal to keep the lights on.

“Going head-on into a solution without having all the background enabling the country to reach the solution is a problem.”

While both agreed there is a need to transition to a cleaner environment, Ghahraman re-emphasised the important role government has in leading the change.

“Small steps make a difference,” she said.

The discussion continues, touching on solar power (which Brownlee admits has at home), plastics particularly in supermarkets, the Auckland cycleway, rail transport and agriculture.

Continue listening


The Backroom of Politics is a new podcast giving an insight into the discussion that lead to policy-making in New Zealand.

The podcast is available on

Additional reading

News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

Tags: , , , ,