Thursday, June 17, 2021
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HomePoliticalBudget 2021: Found Billion Dollars A "Second Chance" To Build Back Better

Budget 2021: Found Billion Dollars A “Second Chance” To Build Back Better



Greenpeace is calling on Finance Minister, Grant
Robertson to use the recently uncovered $926 million of
unspent Covid Recovery funds to make good on Labour’s
election promise to ‘Build Back Better’. The funds could
provide a much-needed boost to support farmers to transition
to regenerative
agriculture
, improve clean transport options and
roll-out renewable energy infrastructure.

“The
Government’s enormous investment in the economy after
Covid-19 created the best opportunity we’ve had in our
lifetime to tackle the climate crisis, protect nature and
improve daily life for New Zealanders, but the chance is
slipping away,” says Greenpeace Campaigner Amanda
Larsson.

“Despite promises to ‘Build Back Better’
from Covid-19, Ardern’s Government has sat and watched
this golden opportunity pass us by. Instead their timid
approach has ended up accelerating business as usual –
supporting polluting sectors while making the
already-wealthy even richer.”

“The recently-discovered
extra $1 billion has given Ardern and Robertson a second
chance to get this right.”

Greenpeace is calling on
the Government to include a sizable support fund for farmers
in the 2021 Budget, due to be released on 20 May. This fund
would help farmers to transition to regenerative
agriculture, which works with nature to rebuild soil, clean
up waterways, bring back wildlife and store carbon as
farmers grow high-value food that earns a
premium.

“Intensive dairying is the number one cause
of climate pollution in Aotearoa. What the tar sands are to
Canada or coal mining is to Australia – that’s what
intensive dairying is to New Zealand,” says
Larsson

“But, unlike coal, oil and gas, agriculture
can be part of the solution to the climate crisis. We can
turn the farming sector around from being Aotearoa’s
biggest polluter into one of our best solutions for tackling
climate change and restoring nature.”

Greenpeace is
also urging Robertson to fast-track the roll out of public
transport, safe cycling and renewable
energy.

“Transport is the fastest-growing source of
carbon emissions in Aotearoa and it’s happening because
people don’t have the option to leave the car at home.
This is fundamentally an infrastructure challenge. We need
the Government to lead the way in making cycling, walking
and public transport more accessible, affordable and
convenient for all New Zealanders.”

“That extra $1
billion would go some way to help. The Government could
unlock even more clean transport spending by shifting the
billions allocated to new roads in the NZ Upgrade –
including the controversial Mill Road project – towards
public and active transport.”

Larsson says concerns
that New Zealand may now be heading into a dry winter once
again underlines how important it is for this Government to
roll out much-needed renewable energy infrastructure. Budget
2021 provides the opportunity to set this
straight.

“Despite promises to make climate change her
‘nuclear free moment’, Ardern has really sat on her
hands when it comes to rolling out wind and solar energy,
alongside battery storage,” says Larsson.

“The Ardern
Government’s under-investment in clean energy has meant
that, over the last four years, we’ve been burning coal
when we could have been powering our homes with clean energy
from the wind and sun. With the gas fields consistently
proving to be unreliable and potentially a dry winter ahead,
this under-investment in renewables will result in more
completely unnecessary carbon
emissions.”

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