The Climate Change Commission is warning the Government not to "lock" New Zealand into a high-emissions future and "compound" the crisis with its Covid-19 economic recovery.
The Government has put the call out for "shovel ready" projects to create jobs once the country is out of lockdown.
In a letter to Climate Change Minister James Shaw, the Commission - established last year to guide the state in reaching carbon neutrality - urged a "climate change lens" be applied to choosing such projects.
"An economic stimulus package can either speed up or stall our progress on climate change," said the letter, signed by Committee chair Rod Carr.
Investing in low-emissions practices, technologies and infrastructure could create jobs and ensure people were better off both now and in the future, while limiting the physical impacts of climate change.
"Conversely, investments that lock New Zealand into a high emissions and exposed development pathway will only compound today's crisis with a future one."
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The letter, also sent to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and several other ministers, encouraged the Government to maintain its commitment to a "productive, inclusive, sustainable, and climate-resilient economy", and base its decisions around certain principles.
These included ensuring any long-term investments would not lock New Zealand into a high-emissions development pathway, bringing forward any climate-friendly projects planned, preparing the workforce for a low-emissions and climate resilient economy and society, and ensuring Māori were involved in decision-making.
The Commission also urged the Government to maintain current emissions reduction incentives, and not to abandon its planned reforms to the Emissions Trading Scheme.
Late last year it unveiled a range of proposals, including doubling the emissions price cap in the ETS to $50 per tonne of emissions, up from $25 in a bid to help curb New Zealand's overall carbon output.
The Government wants New Zealand's carbon emissions to peak in 2020 and slowly come down towards 2030.
But at the current rate, New Zealand is predicted to fall woefully short of its obligations under the Paris Agreement.
This month non-governmental organisations Forest & Bird, Greenpeace, WWF-New Zealand, Generation Zero, EDS and Ecologic wrote to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern urging a "transformative" economic recovery to tackle climate change, save native species, improve freshwater quality, and restore oceans.
The group recommended a range of climate-friendly economic projects, including electrifying and expanding the rail network, making homes warmer and more energy-efficient, investing in renewable energy, and expanding cycleways and active transport.
In Auckland, environmentally-focused councillors have been lobbying officials to broaden the criteria for projects to be "climate positive" and align with council's targets of halving Auckland's emissions by 2030.
On Sunday the Government announced it would help councils with up to 90 per cent funding to expand footpaths and roll out temporary cycleways to help people keep two metres apart after the level 4 lockdown was lifted.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the plan would "help to future-proof our active transport network of cycleways, shared paths and footpaths, meaning that as the restrictions eventually lift, more people will have an alternative, healthy means to get around the city without adding to traffic congestion and carbon emissions".