Greens pledge fund dedicated to climate change fight

Carbon polluters, including farmers, will be charged so the Government can plant 1.2 billion trees, if the Green Party gets its way, in order to help the fight against climate change.

The Green Party announced a new Kiwi Climate Fund on Sunday, vowing if it gets into Parliament, things will have to change in order to protect the environment.

Leader James Shaw says all climate pollution will be charged - including agriculture, which is currently exempt.

"We're the first generation that will feel the effects of climate change, and the last that can stop it," he says.

"No farmer I've talked to wants their child to inherit a world with longer droughts and drier rivers. Agriculture can no longer be exempt from reducing climate pollution; farmers need to be part of the solution."

The actual charge would be determined by an independent Climate Commission, which Mr Shaw says will be a top priority in Government. The aim is to reduce climate pollution to net zero by 2020.

Around 1.2 billion trees would be planted across the country with the revenue from the charges, and any surplus would be returned to Kiwis over 18.

"We estimate this could be $250 per person in 2020," Mr Shaw says.

He says by 2020, it's likely the charge on carbon dioxide would be around $40 per tonne, and nitrous oxide and methane emissions from agriculture would be charged $6 and $3 per tonne, respectively.

The cost would be reduced by farmers planting trees on their land.

Even the Super and ACC Funds would be affected by the change.

"We'll ensure the Government walks the talk by directing the Super Fund and ACC Fund to completely divest from fossil fuel companies, so that pensions are not dependent on economically risky and environmentally toxic investments," Mr Shaw says.

Mr Shaw also says there won't be any new coal mines, fracking or deep sea oil drilling with a Green Government.

Labour's pledge for net-zero carbon and Climate Commission

Labour, the Greens' likely coalition partner, promised on Friday it would set a target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

It also wants to set up an independent Climate Commission to produce carbon budgets and set emission reduction targets into law.

"Climate change is the biggest challenge that internationally we're facing currently," leader Jacinda Ardern says.

"We need climate action otherwise down the track we'll continue to see the likes of climate refugees in the Pacific, rising sea levels, which impacts on New Zealand."

Labour wants to restore the Emissions Trading Scheme, which the Greens would scrap in favour of the Kiwi Climate Fund, but it would also include agriculture into the scheme.

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