November 27, 2019

Trans-Tasman Climate Policy Scorecard: Region sees failure from the big island

Trans-Tasman rivalry has predominantly existed in the sporting arena – rugby, cricket and netball. Off the field, however, where the stakes are much higher as humanity faces the  possibility of untold suffering due to climate change, which country is scoring higher?

An analysis by the Pacific wing of the Global climate campaign NGO of Trans-Tasman rivals show that Kiwis are indeed more forward thinking than their neighbours.

In stark contrast to Australia, where toxic debates over climate and energy policies rage on amidst the backdrop of devastating bushfires, the Zero Carbon Bill was passed with bipartisan support, including from the centre right Nationals.

“Australia has almost no runs on the board when it comes to climate policy. Their emissions are going up, not down – they have no plan to decarbonise their electricity sector or to make a just transition out of fossil fuel extraction like coal.” Patricia Mallam from 350 Pacific, an author of the report said

The report compares the countries policies across 8 key areas including:

  • Current trajectory of emissions
  • Mid and long-term emissions targets
  • Electricity sector decarbonisation
  • Drawing on Indigenous knowledge and sovereignty for climate policy
  • Transition plans from fossil fuel extraction;
  • Adaptation plans to deal with climate impacts;
  • Contribution to the Green Climate Fund (GCF); and
  • Non-electricity sector plans.

“Aotearoa leads in all fronts and deserves respect for that. Their plans are not as just or ambitious as they could be, but next to Australia it’s clear New Zealanders understand we are facing a climate crisis,” Joseph-Zane Sikulu, Pacific Regional Campaign Specialist said.

The report shows that Australia has no serious national level policy on many of the key areas covered by New Zealand’s new Zero Carbon Act, and its emissions continue to rise despite 30 years of international attention on the issue.


“The Zero Carbon Act was a win for people power here and people are going to keep pushing to make it stronger, fairer and go further.” Claudia Palmer from 350 Aotearoa said.

The report demonstrates the broad scope for climate action but particularly focuses on the need to stop digging and burning climate-change causing fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. The authors suggest that providing more legal recognition and recourse for Indigenous Peoples’ rights would also contribute to this aim. 

As countries prepare for the annual UN Climate Summit, to be held next week in Madrid after a last-minute venue change from Santiago, the comparisons of effort will be increasingly in the spotlight.

“Australia’s climate policy is not just a sham it’s a source of great shame. As we can see with these devastating fires there are real consequences to the political games our politicians want to play. We congratulate New Zealand for their global leadership. We need to join our friends from across the ditch on this one.”  Glen Klatovsky said. 

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  • The scorecard is available here: (LINK)
  • Photos to accompany this report are available here: (LINK)
  • For further comment or interview please contact: Patricia Mallam, E: [email protected]