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MPs unite to seek climate change solutions

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/04/2017
Stock © Sandra Mu/Getty Images Stock

In a rare move, parliament has held a special two-hour debate on climate change sponsored by a cross-party group of 35 MPs.

The group, calling itself Globe NZ, commissioned a report by London-based agency Vivid Economics which sets out ways New Zealand could become carbon-neutral by the second half of the century.

MPs from all the parties spoke during the debate, emphasising the importance of working together to combat climate change.

National's Scott Simpson said it was a momentous debate, and contrasted it with the public's perception that MPs were always at each other's throats.

The Green Party's Kennedy Graham, convener of Globe NZ, said the cross-party cooperation was unprecedented and the report would be invaluable in developing policy.

"I've been working on climate change since 1989, and since then our annual emissions have increased enormously," he said.

"I know this work will be difficult, but I also know it is imperative."

Labour's David Parker said the report's recommendation that most impressed him was the way land could be used for more valuable purposes than dairy.

'We have an amazing future as a country if we just push for it," he said.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said finding ways to combat climate change was "the best and most important thing we can do".

"It is happening, it is us, it is bad, and we can do something about it," he said.

Mr Shaw praised Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett for her "surprisingly open and constructive approach" to the work the group was doing.

NZ First's Tracy Martin urged MPs to continue to cooperate and work peacefully together.

"The quickest way to shut this down is to start calling each other names," she warned.

Ms Bennett said she fully endorsed and supported the work the group was doing, which could feed into the government's work on climate change.

She said times were changing.

"It is now rare for me to receive mail saying climate change isn't real and we are all barking mad.''

The MPs will continue discussing the report within the group.

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