Crown Minerals Amendment Act 2019 ( 2019 )

This Act amends the Crown Minerals Act 1991. It bans new offshore oil and gas activities and restricts onshore permitting.…read more

Electricity (Renewable Preference) Amendment Act 2008 ( 2008 )

The purpose of this Amendment Act is “to reduce the impact of fossil-fuelled thermal electricity generation on climate change by creating a preference for renewable electricity generation through the implementation of a 10-year restriction on new baseload fossil-fuelled thermal electricity generation capacity, except where an exemption is appropriate (for example, to ensure security of supply).”…read more

Forests Amendment Act 2004 ( 2004 )

This Act amended the 1949 Forests Act to prohibit the felling of indigenous timber and the export of indigenous forest produce. It requires that sustainable forest management plans be developed for indigenous forest land, and that sustainable forest management permits may be granted to authorise the harvest and milling of indigenous timber that comprises less…read more

Gas Amendment Act 2004 ( 2004 )

This Act states that, in relation to gas, the Energy Commission must seek to achieve the outcome that the gas sector “contributes to achieving the Government's climate change objectives by minimising gas losses and promoting demand-side management and energy efficiency”.…read more

Resource Management (Energy and Climate Change) Amendment Act 2004 ( 2004 / Adaptation Framework )

This Act updates the Resource Management Act 1991 and recognises the government’s preference for national co-ordination of controls on GHG emissions and gives greater emphasis to climate change and energy matters in resource management, planning, and decision-making. The Act makes explicit provisions within section 7 of the Resource Management Act 1991 for all persons exercising…read more

Climate Change Response Act 2002 as amended by the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act ( 2002 / Mitigation Framework )

The Climate Change Response Act 2002 established an institutional and legal framework for New Zealand to ratify and meet its obligations and the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. To this end, the Act authorised the Minister of Finance to manage New Zealand’s holdings of units for GHG emissions under…read more

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000 ( 2000 )

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000 promotes energy efficiency, energy conservation, and the use of renewable energy in New Zealand. The Act establishes an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority which is charged with developing and implementing a national energy efficiency and conservation strategy. The most recent version of this strategy is the New Zealand…read more

National Disaster Resilience Strategy ( 2019 )

The National Disaster Resilience Strategy aims to help strengthen the resilience of the country by managing risks and improving emergency response. The Strategy presents the objectives to be pursued to meet those goals, what is expected in respect of a resilient New Zealand, and how to achieve that over the next 10 years. It sets…read more

Wellbeing budget (2019) ( 2019 )

The 2019 budget set out by the government notably aims to make New Zealand more sustainable and climate-resilient. It makes a number of pledges including: 1) promoting renewable energies and other low-carbon solutions through the Advanced Energy Technology Platform, the establishment of the National New‐Energy Development Centre in Taranaki. 2) investing in sustainable land use…read more

New Zealand Energy and Efficiency Conservation Strategy 2017-2022 ( 2017 )

This document sets the country's goals on energy efficiency and deployment of renewables. It updates the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy 2011-2016 to apply the requirements set out in the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000 alongside the New Zealand Energy Strategy 2011-2021. The strategy focuses in particular on the process heat, transport and electricity sectors. It sets out a detailed…read more

Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Plan of Action ( 2007 )

The Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Plan of Action produced by the then-Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (now the Ministry for Primary Industries) is based on three pillars: adaptation, reducing emissions and enhancing sinks, and business opportunities. Work programmes operate under each pillar, overseen by a Peak Group (comprising Maori, sector and local government)…read more

Economy-wide

NDC Laws and National Policies

reduce GHG emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030

Economy Wide | Base Year Target | Target year: 2030 | Base year: 2005

Source: NDC

There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Industry

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.

Decrease in industrial emissions intensity of at least 1% per annum on average between 2017 and 2022.

Energy Intensity | Intensity Target | Target year: 2022 | Base year: 2017 | Source(s): New Zealan... (2017 / Executive)

Transportation

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.

Electric vehicles make up 2% of the vehicle fleet by the end of 2021.

Transportation Fuels | Fixed Level Target | Target year: 2021 | Base year: 2017 | Source(s): New Zealan... (2017 / Executive)

Agriculture

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Buildings

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Coastal Zones

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Cross-Cutting Area

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Disaster Risk Management (DRM)

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Energy

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Environment

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Health

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

LULUCF

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Social Development

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Tourism

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Urban

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Waste

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

Water

NDC Laws and National Policies
There are no quantifiable targets found in the NDC.There are no quantifiable targets found in the laws and policies.

In 2002, New Zealand passed an Act of Parliament that forms the backbone of its climate change policy: The Climate Change Response Act 2002. Two further acts also play an important role: the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2000 and The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

In its initial version, the Climate Change Response Act included plans to introduce a carbon tax. Designed to cover most economic sectors (except agriculture and highly carbon intensive businesses), the planned carbon tax was scheduled to come into force in 2007. However, after the 2005 general elections, parliamentary support for a carbon tax waned and it was decided not to introduce the tax. Instead, in 2008, the government introduced a national emissions trading scheme (NZ ETS). However, after a government change in 2008 and in the midst of the global financial crisis, several changes were made to the initial legislation (e.g. longer transition periods) to reduce the impact of emission trading on New Zealand’s economy. Despite these changes, the NZ ETS remains New Zealand’s primary response to climate change. Today, the following sectors are covered under the scheme: energy, fishing, forestry, industrial processes, liquid fossil fuels (i.e. transport fuels), synthetic gases, and waste. The agriculture sector is required to report agricultural methane and nitrous oxide emissions but is not required to surrender obligations.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act established the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). The EECA promotes energy efficiency, the use and production of renewable energy, and, as a statutory requirement under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act prepares New Zealand’s national energy efficiency and conservation strategy (the most recent of which, published in 2011, covers the five-year period until 2016). The New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (NZEECS) is a companion document to the non-statutory New Zealand Energy Strategy 2011-2021 published by the then-Ministry for Economic Development (now Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment). These combined documents state the government’s policies, objectives, and targets for energy for the next five to ten years.

The Resource Management Act (RMA) requires all people exercising duties and functions under the Act to have particular regard to the effects of climate change and gives greater emphasis to climate change and energy matters in resource management, planning, and decision-making (although decision-makers under the RMA may not consider the effects on climate change of discharges into the air of greenhouse gases).  Planning for, and responding to, natural hazards, including climate change related hazards is largely the responsibility of local government.

Two national GHG emissions reduction targets have also been formulated. In 2009, the government announced a conditional pledge to reduce emissions in the range of 10% to 20% from 1990 levels by 2020. In 2011, a second target of a 50% cut from 1990 levels by 2050 was gazetted under the Climate Change Response Act. In 2013, an unconditional target of 5% by 2020 was announced.

Carbon pricing

Political support for a carbon tax, which was initially part of the Climate Change Response Act, crumbled after the 2005 elections. Instead, the government promoted a national emission trading scheme that could be linked to other emissions trading schemes such as the European Union ETS. In 2008, forestry became the first sector to be covered under the scheme.

In November 2008, a new government announced a full review of climate change legislation, with a parliamentary select committee set up to discuss New Zealand’s approach to climate change and the NZ ETS in particular. In 2009, legislation to reform the NZ ETS was passed. According to the government, their principal aim was to ease the NZ ETS’s impact on the economy in a period of economic crisis. Under the modified scheme, agriculture, for example, was to enter the scheme in 2015 rather than 2013. Other measures include a different approach to free allocations of emission units to the most emission-intensive and trade-exposed industries. The allocation of emission units was to be indexed to output and therefore uncapped. Furthermore, until 2013 participating sectors (except forestry) had to surrender one unit for every two tonnes instead of one unit per tonne of emissions.

The Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2012 made further amendments to the NZ ETS in order to ensure that businesses and households did not face additional costs during a phase of economic recovery. The 2012 amendments prolong the transitional measures introduced in 2009: non-forestry obligations remain at one emission unit for two tonnes of actual emissions, there is no phase-out of free allocations, the unit price is capped at NZD 25 (USD 19.65) and agriculture will not have to surrender obligations from 2015. Provision for further reviews at the discretion of the Minister for Climate Change Issues was included.

In 2013, the Government announced changes regarding the use of international units within the NZ ETS. International units may only be used for surrender in the NZ ETS up until 31 May 2015.  From June 2015 participants must surrender domestic emission units to meet their obligations. With some minor exceptions, this means the NZ ETS will effectively operate as a domestic scheme after May 2015.

Energy demand

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act established the EECA, which is charged with developing and overseeing the implementation of New Zealand’s national energy efficiency and conservation strategy. The first version of the strategy was published in 2001. Various programmes were initiated, including ENERGYWISE™. ENERGYWISE™ is EECA’s consumer programme that targets information gaps regarding energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable energy. The ENERGYWISE™ information programme provides: General home energy efficiency information; Information on government funding available for home insulation retrofits, clean heat and other energy efficiency solutions; Information to help consumers improve their energy choices (for example, purchasing and running home appliances); and Information on energy labelling schemes, such as ENERGY STAR®.

In 2011, the third version of New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency Strategy was published. Among other things, it set an economy-wide target of improving energy efficiency by 1.3% per annum.

Energy supply

Almost 40% of New Zealand’s energy is produced from renewable energy sources, most of it from geothermal, hydro and bioenergy with a growing amount from wind energy. Nearly 80% of electricity is from renewable sources, mainly hydro-electric power. In 2007, the government set two aspirational targets for the energy sector: that 90% of the country’s electricity should be produced from renewable sources by 2025, providing this does not affect security of supply; and a 9.5PJ increase in the direct use of energy from bioenergy and geothermal above 2005 levels. Although no mandatory legislation has been put in place to support these targets, a number of government and industry-led initiatives support renewable energy projects.

Government support is focused on increasing information through feasibility studies in the meat and dairy sector and to encourage switching from non-renewable heating sources to wood energy in industry. Funding for some renewable energy technology is available via a Technology Demonstration Programme to test new or under-used technology as a means to overcome scepticism or lack of confidence about its effectiveness or reliability.

REDD+ and LULUCF

The agriculture sector is the largest contributor to GHG emissions in New Zealand (46% of total emissions in 2012, excluding LULUCF). While agriculture was due to enter the NZ ETS on 1 January 2015, the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2012 removed the start date for agriculture. At present, NZ ETS participants for agriculture must report biological emissions (agricultural methane and nitrous oxide) at processor level, but there is currently no legislated date for agriculture participants to surrender units under the scheme. The government has indicated that this will only occur if economically viable and practical technologies become available to reduce agricultural emissions, and if New Zealand’s trading partners make more progress on tackling their emissions in general.

The forestry sector plays a major role in the economy and the NZ ETS is the main policy tool to encourage afforestation and reduce deforestation. New Zealand has also made several amendments to existing legislation and launched several programmes of relevance to REDD+ and LULUCF. In 1993, the government passed an amendment to the Forest Act 1949, restricting commercial logging from private native forest and areas managed under sustainable forest management plans. In 2002, further restrictions were made, prohibiting logging of native forests on public land. The government says that, today, less than 0.1% of forest production stems from native forests.

In 2007, the government presented a policy package for forestry and agriculture, the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Plan of Action. The plan consisted of a NZD175m (USD137.5m) work programme to promote adaptation, reduce emissions, and enhance carbon sinks. The programme provides support to three afforestation initiatives: an Afforestation Grant Scheme that operated from 2008 to 2012, the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative, and the East Coast Forestry Project. Under the Afforestation Grant Scheme, the government provides grants to landowners that have created new forests on Kyoto-compliant land (land that was not forested before 1990). The scheme also aims to reduce erosion, nutrient leaching, and flood peaks. The Permanent Forest Sink initiative established in 2007 gives landowners who create new non-harvest forest on Kyoto-compliant land carbon credits that they can trade on domestic and international carbon markets. Established in 1993, the East Coast Forestry Project’s primary goal is to create an additional 200,000 ha of commercially productive forests by 2020. Although the primary aim is to reduce soil erosion, it also enhances the sequestration of carbon in forest sinks. It is now administered on a non-legislative basis.

In 2009, the government facilitated the creation of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) for research on agricultural GHG mitigation. To support and build capability for the GRA, the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC) was established in 2009. This is 100% government-funded, and approximately NZD48.5m (USD38.1m) will be invested in the Centre over 10 years. Related programmes are the joint public-private Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium (PGGRC) and the Livestock Emissions and Abatement Research Network (LEARN). Formed in 2002, PGGRC is a public sector-industry partnership that promotes research and supports livestock farmers in their efforts to mitigate their GHG emissions. Between 2001 and 2008, the programme spent around NZD19m (USD14.9m) supporting research on the production of methane and nitrous oxide from grazing livestock. Established in 2007, LEARN is an international research and collaboration initiative, involving more than 300 researchers from 47 countries. The network seeks to improve the measurement and monitoring of methane and nitrous GHG emissions from animal agriculture and to develop cost-effective mitigation solutions.

Transportation

New Zealand’s primary policy to reduce emissions from the transportation sector is to include transportation fuels in the NZ ETS. In 2011 the New Zealand Energy Strategy (NZES) 2011-2021 and New Zealand Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (NZEECS) 2011-2016 were released. For transport, the strategy sets out areas government will continue to invest in to create an energy efficient transport system, including Roads of National Significance (these routes will ease congestion in and around the five largest metropolitan areas, and link major sea and air ports more effectively into the State highway network; a rail system that enables the efficient movement of freight and complements other modes of passenger and freight transport; reliable and cost effective public transport systems; and improvements to infrastructure for walking and cycling.

The NZEECS target is to continue to achieve a rate of energy intensity improvement of 1.3% per annum. The economy-wide target is shared between four key sectors: transport, homes, business and products. The NZEECS also contains a specific target that by 2016, the efficiency of light vehicles entering the fleet has further improved from 2010 levels. The NZEECS notes that the government will continue to support improvements to road and public transport; continue to fund transport infrastructure to support people to make energy efficient transport choices (i.e. walking, cycling, public transport systems, as well as reducing congestion on the roads); promote efficient business fleet management; and encourage the entry of alternative transport fuels and electric vehicles in the New Zealand market.

For a brief period, New Zealand had a mandatory quota for biofuels. In 2008, amendments were made to the Energy (Fuels, Levies, and References) Act 1989 to establish an initial blending mandate for biofuels of 0.5%, which was set to increase to 2.5% by 2012. However, after a change of government, the obligation was removed the same year. Later attempts to create a mandatory sustainability scheme for biofuels (Sustainable Biofuel Bill) were not successful. However, the government continues to support the production and use of biofuels through a number of measures. Bioethanol is exempted from excise tax and the government-funded Biodiesel Grant Scheme, which ran from 2009-2012, provided NZD36m (USD28.3m) of subsidies to the biodiesel industry.

Electric vehicles are exempt from road user charges in the period of 2009-2020 and in 2008, the government introduced a Vehicle Fuel Economy Labelling Scheme. The label provides information about vehicle fuel efficiency and aims to allow consumers to make more informed buying decisions.

Adaptation

The key piece of legislation for adapting to climate change and associated natural hazards is the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). All people exercising duties and functions under the RMA are required to have particular regard to the effects of climate change and this is undertaken as part of wider natural hazards management. Planning for, and responding to, natural hazards, including climate change-related hazards is largely the responsibility of local government under the RMA. Other adaptation-related legislation, policies and plans include the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act, the National Infrastructure Plan and the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement.

The framework for adapting to climate change outlines the approach to adaptation and describes investment in research and guidance to support climate change adaptation. The government is investing approximately NZD100m (USD78.6m) over 10 years on research and projects relating to adaptation, as well as approximately NZD155m (USD121.9m) on water storage and irrigation. This research will assist local councils, businesses, individuals and communities to identify impacts and implement effective adaptation solutions.

The government has also prepared the guidance to assist local councils in planning for climate change: Guidance note on Natural Hazards Management (this includes information on managing flood hazards through RMA plans); Tools for Estimating the Effects of Climate Change on Flood Flow; Preparing for future flooding; Adapting to sea level rise; and Preparing for coastal change.

Mataatua District Maori Council v. New Zealand (Opened in 2017 )

Citation/reference number: WAI 2607
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s):
Current status: open

Representatives of the Mataatua District Maori Council have filed a claim and supporting memorandum in the Waitangi Tribunal, the forum where disputes over the performance of the Waitangi Treaty between the Maori and the government of New Zealand are heard and resolved. The claimants allege that New Zealand has breached its obligations to the Maori…read more

Ioane Teitiota v. The Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (New Zealand Supreme Court, 2015) (Opened in 2015 )

Citation/reference number: [2015] NZSC 107
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): To gain refugee status
Current status: Decided

A Kiribati citizen appealed the denial of refugee status in the New Zealand High Court. The appellant argued that the effects of climate change on Kirabati, namely rising ocean levels and environmental degradation, are forcing citizens off the island. The High Court found that the impacts of climate change on Kirabati did not qualify the…read more

Thomson v. Minister for Climate Change Issues (High Court of New Zealand, Wellington, filed 10 Nov. 2015) (Opened in 2015 )

Citation/reference number: CIV-2015-__
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): Challenge to Minister’s target for GHG emissions reductions
Current status: closed

Sarah Thomson, a New Zealand law student, filed a Statement of Claim in 2015 against New Zealand’s Minister of Climate Change Issues alleging that the Minister had failed in several respects regarding the setting of greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets required by New Zealand’s Climate Change Response Act of 2002. That Act implements New Zealand’s…read more

In re: AD (Tuvalu) (Immigration and Protection Tribunal New Zealand, 2014) (Opened in 2014 )

Citation/reference number: [2014] Cases 501370-371
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): Seeking resident visa
Current status: Decided

A family from Tuvalu appealed after they were denied New Zealand resident visas. The family argued, inter alia, that they would be at risk of suffering the adverse impacts of climate change if they were deported to Tuvalu. Pursuant to the Immigration Act 2009, the New Zealand Immigration and Protection Tribunal found that the family…read more

West Coast Ent Inc. v. Buller Coal Ltd. (Supreme Court of New Zealand 2013) (Opened in 2013 )

Citation/reference number: [2013] NZSC 87
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): Appeal declaration finding that indirect greenhouse gas emissions should not be considered in resource consent applications
Current status: Decided

Buller Coal Ltd and Solid Energy Ltd both applied to West Coast Regional Council and the Buller District Council for resource consents under the Resource Management Act of 1991 to mine coal for export purposes. The Environment Court had affirmed the mining companies' omission of any climate change impacts from the declaration required of them…read more

New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust v. National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd. (High Court of New Zealand, 2012) (Opened in 2012 )

Citation/reference number: [2012] NZHC 2297; [2013] NZCA 555
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): Judicial review application in relation to publication of climate data by a government owned research institute
Current status: Decided

The New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust (Trust) sought judicial review of climate data published by a government owned research institute. The Trust contended that the institute had employed the wrong methodology to adjust historic temperature data. The High Court held that courts should give considerable deference to specialist agencies in relation to their areas…read more

Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc. v. Buller Coal Ltd. (High Court of New Zealand, 2012) (Opened in 2012 )

Citation/reference number: [2012] NZHC 2156
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): Challenged court’s decision to give a permit to conduct coal mining activities.
Current status: Decided

Buller Coal received a permit to conduct coal mining activities at the Escarpment Mine in New Zealand. The appellant challenged the environment court’s decision in favor of Buller, and raised two questions under the country’s 1991 Resource Management Act. The first: Under section 104(1) of the Act, does the decision maker have to consider the…read more

Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association Inc. v. Minister of Transport (High Court of New Zealand, 2011) (Opened in 2011 )

Citation/reference number: [2011] NZHC 1702
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): Sought judicial review of emissions standards for used cars imported into New Zealand.
Current status: Decided

The Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association (IMVIA) sought judicial review of the Transport Ministry’s emissions standards for used cars imported into New Zealand. New Zealand has no domestic car manufacturing industry and imports its vehicles. In 2007, the Transport Ministry opted for a rule that would implement an emissions standard for used imports, in lieu…read more

Maniototo Environmental Society Inc. v. Central Otago District Council (High Court of New Zealand, 2010) (Opened in 2010 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] NZEnvC 293; NZHC CIV 2009 412 000980
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): Appeal of successful challenge to a proposed wind farm
Current status: Settled/Withdrawn

Applicants challenged the granting of resource consents to Meridian Energy for the construction of a wind farm using up to 176 wind turbines. The Environment Court of New Zealand conducted a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed wind farm and determined that the project did not comply with the Resource Management Act because the substantial adverse…read more

Motorimu Wind Farm Ltd v. Palmerston North Council (Environment Court of New Zealand, 2009) (Opened in 2009 )

Citation/reference number: [2009] NZEnvC 33
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): Appeal partial denial of resource consents for proposed wind farm
Current status: Decided

Motorimu Wind Farm appealed a city council’s partial denial of resource consents for a proposed wind farm. The council only approved only 75 of the 127 proposed turbines due to significant adverse landscape impacts. The Environment Court of New Zealand acknowledged that the additional turbines would markedly increase the wind farm’s contribution to New Zealand’s…read more

Genesis Power Ltd. v. Greenpeace New Zealand Inc. (Supreme Court of New Zealand, 2008) (Opened in 2008 )

Citation/reference number: [2008] NZSC 112
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): Sought declaration that exception in law regarding consent applied only when application related to renewable energy
Current status: closed

A power company proposed to build a power station fueled by natural gas. This required a number of resource consents, including a discharge permit. At question in this case was the proper interpretation of Section 104E of the Resource Management Act 1991. Section 104E prohibits consent authorities from considering the effect of greenhouse gas emissions…read more

Greenpeace New Zealand v. Northland Regional Council (High Court of New Zealand, 2007) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] NZRMA 87
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): Challenge to regional council consent to a proposed coal-fired power station
Current status: Decided

New Zealand Court ruled in favor of Greenpeace holding that climate change was a relevant consideration in the government’s consent of greenhouse gas discharge from a proposed coal-fired power station. The Northland Regional Council had granted consent to Mighty River Power Ltd to discharge contaminants from a proposed coal-fired power station at Marsden Point. The…read more

Meridian Energy Ltd. v. Wellington City Council (Environment Court, 2007) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] W031/07 NZEnvC 128
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): Challenge to city council approval for a wind farm
Current status: Decided

New Zealand Environment Court upheld approval for a wind farm. The court found that the generation of electricity on a wind farm, which emits no greenhouse gases, is relevant to whether the wind farm should be approved.…read more

Outstanding Landscape Protection Society Inc. v. Hastings District Council (Environment Court of New Zealand, 2007) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] NZEnvC 87
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): Challenge to a proposed wind farm
Current status: Decided

The Environment Court of New Zealand upheld an appeal by citizen groups challenging the approval of resource consents for Unison Networks Limited to construct and operate a wind farm. The court reasoned that the adverse landscape impacts and associated cultural values outweighed the advantages derived from the generation of renewable electricity and reduced greenhouse gas…read more

Unison Networks Ltd v. Hastings District Council (High Court of New Zealand, 2007) (Opened in 2007 )

Citation/reference number: [2007] NZHC 1435
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): Appeal of successful challenge to a proposed wind farm
Current status: Decided

Citizen groups challenged the granting of resource consents to Unison Networks Limited to construct and operate a wind farm. The New Zealand Environment Court allowed the appeal. The court determined that despite the benefits of the wind farm in terms of climate change and providing a source of renewable energy, the proposal did not comply…read more

Genesis Power Ltd and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority v. Franklin District Council (Environment Court, 2005) (Opened in 2005 )

Citation/reference number: [2005] NRRMA 541
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): Challenge to district council's decision refusing consent for a proposed wind farm
Current status: Decided

New Zealand Environment Court granted consent for a wind farm. The Franklin District Council refused consent for the project on the basis that would have an adverse visual effect on the landscape, local community and equestrian activities. Proponents of the project cite reduction in emission of harmful greenhouse gases and a national need for sustainable…read more

Environmental Defence Society v. Auckland Regional Council & Contact Energy Ltd. (Environment Court, 2002) (Opened in 2002 )

Citation/reference number: [2002] 11 NZRMA 492
Jurisdiction: New Zealand
Core objective(s): Sought government imposition of mitigation measures in granting consent for a power station
Current status: Decided

The New Zealand environmental court accepted the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as a matter of serious concern in an application by Contact Energy for resource consent to construct and operate a 400 megawatt gas fired combined cycle power station in south Auckland. In granting consent for the power station, the Auckland Regional…read more

New Zealand’s parliamentary system is unicameral – it has only one chamber (House of Representatives) and there is no upper house.  The members of the House of Representatives serve a term of three years and are elected using the mixed member proportional representation voting system, whereby each citizen of voting age gets two votes. The first is for a local Member of Parliament, the second for a political party. Typically, the House of Representatives has 120 members. However, this can vary because the representation of political parties is proportional to the number of votes they receive in the general elections. The most recent general election was in September 2014, with the next general election needing to be held before the end of November 2017.

Proposed laws are called bills and are introduced to the House of Representatives. The legislative process begins with a first reading in the House of Representatives. The bill is debated and a decision is reached on whether it progresses to the next stage or not. If a bill passes the first reading, it is usually referred to a select committee to be considered in more detail. In a second reading, the bill and any changes recommended by the select committee are again considered by the House. If successful, all the changes made are worked into the bill before it is considered for a final reading, typically in the form of a summing-up debate. The bill is then put to a vote to either pass or reject it. A bill does not become an Act of Parliament until it is signed by the Sovereign of New Zealand or his/her representative (the Governor-General). This is called the Royal Assent.

New Zealand is a unitary state rather than a federation. Local governments in New Zealand play no role in the legislative process other than by making submissions on bills.

Last modified 22 August, 2017