Tēnā koe Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern,
We, the undersigned organisations, wish to congratulate you on the re-election of your government, and your reappointment as Prime Minister of New Zealand. The overwhelming vote in favour of progressive politics shows the broad mandate your government has been given to steward Aotearoa towards a more sustainable, just and accessible future. We look forward to continuing to work with your government to progress meaningful and ambitious climate action in this term.
As a coalition of organisations that represents thousands of people across Aotearoa who are united by our concerns about the climate crisis, we consider this term of government to be crucial. Climate change, as you have declared, is our generation’s ‘nuclear-free moment’, and it requires the same level of leadership, ambition and determination to overcome. The window in which we still have time to reduce our carbon emissions and limit the worst impacts of climate change is getting smaller every day. Progressing policies to meaningfully reduce our emissions now will not only make a material impact on our overall emissions but will set an example for the rest of the world.
One immediate area that we ask your government to prioritise is that of decarbonising the state sector. We acknowledge the good beginning that your government made in its previous term by initiating the transition of a number of schools, hospitals, universities and other state sector institutions from coal boilers to renewables. These announcements have shown the citizens of Aotearoa that a fossil free state sector – one that is heated by renewable energy sources and not the fossil fuels that are radically altering our climate with devastating consequences – is a realistic goal to strive for, and we ask that your government commit to making it a reality by expanding and speeding up this programme of transition.
The first 100 days of a new government are a crucial period that can set the tone for the rest of the term. Your recent cooperation agreement with the Green Party sets decarbonising the public sector as a clear priority for this government and we call on you to make immediate commitments to honour this.
We urge you to commit, within the first 100 days of this new term, to an immediate ban on all new fossil fuel boilers for state sector buildings. We believe that this is a critical first step to ensure that no decisions are taken that lock any state sector building into decades of dependency on fossil fuels.
We also ask that you offer transparency and remove barriers to the fund by:
- releasing clear steps on the application process for grants from the Clean Powered State Sector Fund to make it accessible for all state sector institutions to apply to the fund.
- publishing a list of all state sector institutions, including local authorities, still burning fossil fuels for heat.
As Budget 2021 approaches, we ask that your government commits to expanding the budget allocation made to the Clean Powered State Sector Fund to provide sufficient funding for all remaining public sector buildings to transition from fossil fuel boilers to renewables by 2025.
Within this term of government, we ask that you continue to progress a fossil free Aotearoa state sector by committing the resolve, resourcing and expertise to fully and transparently transition all state sector buildings still powered by fossil fuel boilers to renewably sourced power by 2025.
Fossil fuels have no place in the boilers that warm our schools, hospitals, prisons and other public institutions. As your government shapes its agenda for this term of government, we urge you to ensure that a fossil free state sector is top of the list when it comes to climate policy. Your leadership in this area will not only make a material difference to lower our carbon emissions and improve air quality in our communities, but its symbolic power will also signify your government’s commitment to steering Aotearoa towards a low-carbon future.
Ngā mihi nui,
Coal Action Network Aotearoa
Coal Action Nelson
Coal Action Murihiku
Parents for Climate Aotearoa
Southland Forest and Bird
School Strike 4 Climate Aotearoa
OraTaiao: NZ Climate & Health Council