Our Policies

The challenges we face are urgent and the environment can’t wait. We will make a real difference by 2021; one that can be sustained.

As a minor party in a Mixed-Member Proportional system, we do not attempt to have policy on anything and everything. We have a focused offering in 10 policy areas in which we think (a) governments of all stripes are not doing enough; and, (b) we could have a significant influence in our first years as part of a government by being focused on our mission of making New Zealand the most environmentally and economically sustainable country in the world.

Our top policy priorities:

  • Safe, healthy water that sustains life. 
  • To lead New Zealand’s transformation to a prosperous, sustainable economy.
  • To save our native species from extinction.

Our ten policy areas:

  1. Clean, safe water
  2. Oceans
  3. Sustainable Economy through Innovation
  4. Conservation
  5. Waste
  6. Energy
  7. Transport
  8. Animal Welfare
  9. Planning
  10. Reducing Emissions

Clean, Safe Water

  • We will create a Cabinet portfolio for Water to coordinate all the councils, health boards and government departments that manage water. The Minister of Water will be responsible to the Prime Minister and will have a co-ordinating mandate rather than necessitating the creation of a new and separate ministry and the expense that comes with that.
  • We will establish a $300 million Freshwater Fund to clean up our waterways. This fund will provide ecological and technical advice to our farmers and compensate for the covenanting of wetlands.
  • We will invest in improvements to stormwater and wastewater treatment in our towns and cities and particularly in improving infrastructure to make inner-city beaches swimmable.
  • We will fund the development of NZ Building Standards for green roofs and swales to reduce the cost of specific engineering.
  • We will target reduction of sedimentation and run-off in our waterways through improved land and catchment management.
  • We will increase distributed water storage to be more resilient to droughts and actively manage groundwater supply and quality to avoid permanent damage.
  • We will encourage and support local authorities to transition solid artificial streams to permeable vegetated streams where possible.
  • Existing domestic water users will be given priority over new applicants so that new extraction does not prejudice existing household water supplies.
  • We will create and restore inland wetlands to improve natural water retention during dry weather with a goal of doubling our wetlands by 2050.

Oceans

  • We will put cameras on fishing vessels as a mandatory measure and incentivise sustainable fisheries.
  • We will consult on establishing more ocean sanctuaries with a commitment to the creation of the Kermadecs Ocean Sanctuary in the first term of government.
  • We will invest in our Navy and Air Force to defend our Exclusive Economic Zone and protect our oceans.

A Sustainable Economy

A reality of MMP is that a lot of the major economic decisions will be the domain of the biggest party in a coalition government. As a minor party, our contribution to any government will be to ensure that New Zealand adopts a plan to deal with, among other things, two of our most persistent problems: a low-productivity, low-wage economy; and, ongoing environmental degradation. To do this, we must foster and fund innovation to move us away from an excessive reliance on exporting high-volume primary produce and importing people, to exporting intellectual property and increasing the value-add of our world-class exports. This way we can tread more lightly on the earth and become richer as we do it.

Our Innovation Plan starts with the establishment of a New Zealand Innovation Authority (under the Ministry of Innovation & Technology)  with the responsibility of effectively coordinating the activities listed below. This will foster collaboration and interaction between the parties involved (government, the private sector, educational & research centres and individual entrepreneurs) to create a dynamic, interactive network that breeds innovation. Our four-pronged approach focuses on:

  • Start-up and business development support
    • Start-up accelerator program (20 licensed incubators established)
    • Business diagnosis advice and consultancy
      • High-Growth Support
      • Distressed Business Support
  • Innovation Support
    • R&D Grants for academic and research institutions
    • Technology Transfer Organisations (facilitating academic and research institutions commercialise IP)
    • Innovation Agents & Networks (facilitating SMEs to develop and adopt innovation)
  • Financing
    • Expansion of VC Fund Industry (attract Smart Money with expertise in commercialising IP)
    • Government Credit Guarantee Program (ensuring SMEs have greater access to innovation funding)
  • Market Access
    • SME Public Procurement Program (easier access for SMEs to $41 billion government agencies spend)
    • Internationalisation Program
      • Export Ready (scoping out and planning export market entry)
      • First Flight (launching your export program)
      • Market Access (establishing an offshore beach-head)

Read more about our Innovation Plan at the following link:

Conservation

  • We have a detailed, costed plan to invest a billion dollars in conservation.
  • We will fully implement the new Biodiversity Strategy and National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity.
  • We will fund community groups and farmers to control pests and weeds.
  • We will set aside land that is a significant natural habitat.
  • We will support scientific advances in pest, weed and disease control.
  • We will aggressively combat wilding pines and other plant pests.

Read more about our Billion Dollar Plan for Conservation at the following link:

Waste

All goods entering the country are currently levied at the rate of $10 dollars per tonne to subsidise waste disposal. This is shared between the council and local government. The average cost of processing waste is ~$170 per tonne. Sustainable New Zealand wants to tackle the mountain of waste that is cast into New Zealand landfills with a comprehensive focus on waste management.

  • We will review the importation levy to target products that we know will end up in landfill.
  • We would seek to gradually replace the importation levy with an Environmental Impact Levy on goods coming into the country based on a scale of extreme-minimal environmental impact. This would be calculated volumetrically and charged by using customs entry codes for calculations.
  • We would apply the product stewardship provisions of the Waste Management Act 2008.
  • We would aim for a recyclability target of 85% recoverable by 2030.
  • To establish recycling technologies through our Innovation Policy.
  • To build significant infrastructure to deal with specific types of waste through public-private partnerships.
  • A list of products/materials that are recyclable in New Zealand will be available for people looking to build a strategy for supplying New Zealand. This will be updated every 6 months as we look to improve recycling in New Zealand.

Energy

We want to help develop solutions in energy that benefit everyone and keeps our economy moving. We believe in the short term we must provide a decentralised, clean energy model.

  • We will put in place an incentive programme for landlords of large commercial buildings to set up solar arrays on existing warehouses. This reduces the cost for the business and reduces demand on the grid.
  • We will incentivise smart solutions to help local government to reduce power consumption, such as accelerated LED lighting upgrades.
  • We will invest $1 billion over 5 years in urgent as well as pre-emptive upgrades into the national and distribution grids to meet mass electrification requirements.
  • In order to provide adequate peak demand energy, we will fund investment in market-ready energy mass storage including batteries, hydrogen backup, pumped hydro systems.  Funding should be flexible to allow for public-private, public: community joint ventures or fully public depending on the context.
  • We will develop New Zealand’s capacity as a producer of ‘green hydrogen’, i.e. generation with renewable energy, and the roll-out of a nation-wide re-fuelling network for hydrogen fuelled vehicles.
  • We will invest $500 million over 5 years to install 3-5 marine energy projects in partnership with established providers, private industry, iwi.  These will be made up of offshore wind and enclosed tidal projects.

Transport

  • We will establish a national, high-speed electric rail programme to establish funding mechanisms, staging and design.  
  • We will upgrade priority rail corridors to allow trains to operate at up to 160km/hr by 2030 and establish new rapid commuter services between main urban centres such as the Golden Triangle (Hamilton, Auckland, Tauranga), Wellington to Palmerston North and Wairarapa and Christchurch satellite towns. 
  • We will fund heavy rail connections to Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland airports.
  • We will provide $100 million funding over three years to soft transport infrastructure such as new direct commuter walk and cycleways and grade-separated cycle paths.
  • We will introduce variable congestion charges for private transport in urban areas.

Animal Welfare

  • We will appoint an independent Parliamentary Commissioner for Animals as an advocate for the welfare of all animals, including farm, companion and wild animals.
  • We will work to abolish all factory farming in New Zealand by 1 January 2025, including farrowing crates, fattening pens and hen cages.
  • We will make it mandatory for cameras to be installed in slaughterhouses and on the commercial fishing fleet, and provide funding for monitoring the cameras.
  • We will implement full protection for Māui and Hector’s dolphins throughout their ranges.

See further details of our 19-point Animal Welfare plan on the following link:

Planning

NZ cities must:

  • Cleverly intensify with support structures in place for community building.
  • Provide usable Biodiverse Urban Green Spaces.
  • Restore soft edges to waterways.
  • Ensure interconnection between green spaces.
  • Provide ease of cycling and walking via interconnected routes.
  • Reduce light pollution.
  • Provide affordable, efficient and convenient public transport.
  • Become resilient to droughts, storms, earthquakes and disease.
  • Increase the use of porous roading surfaces
  • Prevent further encroachment on productive land and open space.
  • Introduce a special category for arable land ‘Spaces of Agricultural Significance’, for instance the elite soils south of Auckland and protect them from inappropriate development.
  • Additional protection for parks and reserves.

We will significantly reform New Zealand’s environmental legislation and local government:

  • Repeal of the Resource Management Act and replace it with new legislation called the Natural and Built Environments Act. The focus would be on enhancing the quality of the environment and on achieving positive outcomes to support the wellbeing of present and future generations. It would create a system designed to achieve specified outcomes, targets and limits for both the natural and built environments. Significant changes to processes are recommended including stronger national direction and the introduction of combined plans for each region.
  • The Natural and Built Environments Act would work in concert with another new piece of legislation called the Strategic Planning Act. This act would set long-term strategic goals and facilitate the integration of legislative functions across the resource management system. These would include functions exercised under the new Natural and Built Environments Act, the Local Government Act, the Land Transport Management Act and the Climate Change Response Act. This legislation is designed to integrate land use planning with the provision of infrastructure and associated funding and investment. Regional spatial planning will play a critical part delivering the intended outcomes for the resource management system. The new legislation would include strategic planning for urban growth and responding to change, measures to respond to the effects of climate change, and the identification of areas unsuitable for development due to their natural values or importance.
  • We would implement a Managed Retreat and Climate Change Adaptation Act to deal with the coastal impacts of climate change.
  • We support a comprehensive reform of local government to rationalise along regional lines. The existence of 78 local authorities in a nation of just five million people is inefficient and has hindered integrated environmental regulation and urban planning.

Reducing Emissions

  • We will work to double the amount of renewable electricity generated before 2050.
  • We will put an end to the use of coal to generate electricity.
  • We will phase out the use of coal for industrial process heating.
  • We will offset the country’s methane emissions through forestry with priority given to biodiverse native forests and will avoid excessive reliance on pine monocultures for this purpose.