A BFD reader wrote to their local MP to tell them that National had lost their party vote in 2020 due to their support of the Zero Carbon Bill. To his credit, the MP sent a personal reply.


Thanks for your email correspondence regarding the Zero Carbon Bill.

I do think on balance National got our position right on this bill. Firstly, the coalition had the numbers so this bill was going through regardless and our vote was more symbolic. Secondly, we have already said we will change the bill in our first 100 days if elected in 2020. Thirdly, there’s really no teeth in this bill. All the bill allows for is an independent climate change commission to track our progress on agreed targets and advise the government on how to reduce carbon emissions. The government of the day will always maintain full control over what advice they accept or don’t accept.

The changes we proposed were:

  • That the target for biological methane reduction be recommended by the independent Climate Change Commission, instead of politicians.
  • That the Bill makes clear the stated aim of the Paris Agreement is for greenhouse gas reduction to occur in a manner that does not threaten food production.
  • To strengthen provisions that consider the level of action being taken by other countries and allow targets to be adjusted to ensure we remain in step with the international community.
  • To strengthen provisions for the Commission to consider economic impacts when providing advice on targets and emissions reductions.
  • That the Bill ensures the Commission considers the appropriate use of forestry offsets, and has regard for the carbon sink represented by crops, riparian planting, and other farm biomass.
  • That emissions budgets be split between biogenic methane and carbon dioxide as recommended by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.
  • That the Bill includes a greater commitment to investment in innovation and research and development to find new solutions for reducing emissions.

As a National supporter I’m sure you can understand the politics of this issue. Realistically we need 48% or more of the Party Vote in order to govern. It is my view and the view of the National Caucus that we will not achieve that level of support by coming across as climate change deniers.

I hope we can regain your Party Vote in time for next year’s election.