United Future unveils climate change policy

By Sue Eden

Householders would be encouraged to take out bank loans to insulate their homes under United Future policy to address climate change.

It also wants consumers to buy newer, more fuel-efficient cars and wants to limit the number of older imports coming into the country.

Its policy on climate change released today focuses on what individuals can do.

This includes encouraging home owners to borrow around $5000 from banks to insulate their homes, money United Future says will be recouped in savings on consumers' energy bills.

United Future leader Peter Dunne said there would be costs on individuals as a result of climate change but "we are at a point in the life of our planet where significant change needs to be made if we are to survive".

That change could not be made cheaply or easily, he said.

United Future MP Gordon Copeland said there were around one million homes in New Zealand that were poorly insulated.

Experts from the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA) could provide banks with a statement of how much it would take to insulate a home and the potential energy savings.

United Future also wants homes given an energy rating before they are sold.

It would also require all flats and rental properties to be advertised as to whether or not these were insulated.

On transport, Mr Copeland said there were 2.1 million cars in New Zealand but it was an old fleet, with the average age of a car about 12 years compared to 6-1/2 years in Australia.

Tighter regulations on the number of older imported cars allowed into New Zealand would be necessary, he said.

Under his party's policy, people would be paid to take energy inefficient, high-emission old cars off the road rather than see them dumped around the countryside. There would be a minimum payment -- yet to be determined -- for every older vehicle with a WOF that was dropped off at a wrecker.

Hybrid vehicles would be bought for the government fleet where possible.

Its policy also included making landowners bear the Kyoto costs when land was converted from forestry to dairy farming. Mr Copeland said one way to mitigate that would be to use the permanent forest sinks initiative to start a forest elsewhere.

Mr Copeland also said developers wanting to build hydro dams on conservation land should be able to go through the usual processes of the Resource Management Act rather than be allowed to only submit their proposals to the conservation minister.

United Future earlier rejected the Government's idea of a carbon tax.

It favours a carbon emissions trading mechanism to provide incentives to reduce greenhouse gases.

Over a year ago, United Future rejected working with the Green Party and was rubbishing ideas that party was talking about on issues such as climate change.

Mr Dunne said it still objected to many Green ideas but it was clear the debate on climate change had gathered momentum.

His party had listened to that emerging debate and developed its policy.

United Future wants a multi-party conference to be held at Parliament early next year with the aim of getting a consensus on climate change policies.

- NZPA

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 23 May 2017 23:30:50 Processing Time: 1229ms