The Green Party has this morning launched an ambitious $2.5 billion plan to generate 100,000 new jobs, with at least half of those to come from a push to grow New Zealand's renewable energy technology exports to $8 billion a year.
The remainder of the new jobs would come through further Government investment in housing, and "by shifting the drivers for green jobs in the private sector", co-leader Russel Norman said.
"As well as stimulating jobs at a time of economic uncertainty, our initiative will make our economy more resilient and protect our natural environment, without going further into debt."
Criticising the National Government's economic policies as risking New Zealand's "clean green brand for the sake of a quick buck", the Greens' plan "will not only create good jobs, it will speed the transition of our economy to a low-carbon, clean technology future", Dr Norman said.
New Zealand's renewable energy potential was "at the heart" of the Greens' plan.
"We can develop our publicly owned energy companies to capitalise on the growing international market for clean energy technology.
By ramping up our energy sector with a clean green focus, and piggybacking on our '100 per cent Pure' brand, we can protect our environment while boosting our economy.
The Greens' would keep the state owned energy companies in public ownership, and encourage them partner with private sector entrepreneurs, "and export clean energy technology, services, and equipment to the world" - a policy not dissimilar to that advocated by Labour for some time.
" Incentivising these public energy companies to partner with the private sector will create a domestic research and development community that will help keep talented New Zealanders in the country", Dr Norman said.
The Greens also want $1.45 billion in direct government investment in initiatives including extending the Heat Smart home insulation programme to a further 200,000 homes, a $670 million investment in new state and social housing, $396 million to create a 3000 strong "conservation corps".
The Greens would also invest $36 million in planting 665,000 ha of new forests, creating about 3700 jobs.
The plan also calls for a "greening" of small businesses, including a $100 million start up fund for cleantech small and medium sized enterprises and a whopping $1 billion boost to R&D spending.
All up the plan appears to cost about $2.5 billion over three years.
The Greens' Jobs Plan:
* Ramp-up the Heat Smart home insulation programme to a further 200,000 homes over the next three years, costing $350 million and employing 4000 people directly or 10,400 including "indirect and upstream employment effects".
* Retain ownership of our state-owned enterprises while creating incentives for them to partner with "clean tech entrepreneurs" in the private sector and develop renewable energy solutions that we can patent and export abroad. Securing "just 1 per cent" of the global market for renewable energy "solutions" would create a $6 to $8 billion export industry generating 47,000-65,000 new jobs
* Support for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the "cleantech sector" through a mix of government procurement policies, tax incentives, startup funding, and a $1 billion boost to R&D funding.By Adam Bennett Email Adam