Simon Bridges needs to put his money where his mouth is and get green cars for Government fleet.
Simon Bridges dropped into Team BMW in Newmarket recently for the launch of its new ibrand electric car, raising the inevitable speculation that the Crown's replacement ministerial fleet may go electric.
The Energy Minister wasn't simply teasing.
There is a strong constituency building among progressive Cabinet members for a dramatic signal to be sent that moving to electric cars powered by renewable energy would be a bold solution towards reducing New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions.
But Bridges needs to put his money where his mouth is.
The Government has missed a chance to stake some bold leadership at a pivotal time in the global debate on how to reach agreement to bring global greenhouse emissions under control.
Cabinet Minister Tim Groser is known to be a supporter of an electric cars future. Groser has spent a great deal of time at the sharp end of the complex international negotiations on climate change matters. He's off again in Lima for the current round of talks towards a comprehensive new global climate change deal in 2015.
The United Nations-led jamboree has worthy intentions.
But the reality is that market mechanisms and pledges are not going to result in the overall changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero this century as the United Nations' panel on climate change has recommended. That would mean ensuring sufficient offsetting measures - such as planting forests to soak up carbon dioxide from the air as they grow - take place.
The brute reality also is that the Kyoto Treaty has not slowed worldwide emissions. It expires in 2020 and there is yet to be agreement on a replacement.
What's on the table is not ambitious enough.
It's questionable whether a replacement treaty would be adhered to by all signatories. Or whether it would be sufficiently comprehensive to get the necessary trade-offs.
In New Zealand it comes down to making choices.
About 42 per cent of New Zealand's carbon emissions are from energy use. Transport, industrial heat and the heating of commercial buildings are responsible for three-quarters of that, with transport accounting for about 20 per cent of the total emissions.
The upshot is if New Zealand issued a policy statement requiring major fleets to switch to electric vehicles over phase-in periods this country would be better placed to meet its international obligations - fast.
The signal is there in the latest panel report, which basically says the tools are in place to move towards a low emissions path and break the addition to burning oil, coal and gas; this pollutes the atmosphere with heat-trapping CO2.
As Bridges has noted before, replacing a comparable petrol car with an electric vehicle would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than two tonnes a year. A transition to electric vehicles could also reduce New Zealand's $9 billion oil bill and improve security of supply; and increase New Zealand's resilience.
So, why haven't we done it?
The British Government is making changes on this score.
And Mighty River Power - still 51 per cent owned by the Government - will switch 70 per cent of its vehicle fleet to plug-in or hybrid plug-in cars over the next four years.
Chief executive Fraser Whineray reckons that savings in fuel costs will more than cover the cost of switching to new leases. Both Whineray and chairwoman Joan Withers are now driving electric cars.
Whineray has also said the energy in the renewable power projects that are already consented is more than enough to drive all the country's 2.8 million cars 12,000km a year.
As he said earlier this year, New Zealand has some unique advantages when we consider the use of electric vehicles and a target for 90 per cent renewable electricity generation by 2025.
Australia does not have these advantages.
But it does have boldness.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has put nuclear power and uranium mining back on the agenda.
Neither nuclear power nor the uranium which fuels it would go down on this side of the Tasman. We do have sufficient renewable energy. Much of Australia is still powered by coal-fired plants.
But it is an option that Australia is prepared to table and debate.
Here we simply talk.