Labour wants net zero carbon emissions by 2050

Labour promises to set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 if elected to government.

The party would also establish an independent Climate Commission which would set emission reductions targets into law and produce carbon budgets.

National's climate change spokesperson Paula Bennett says that the policy is "an attack on the regions".

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said "For too long, we have set targets and not done what's needed to achieve them."

"Climate change is the biggest challenge that internationally we're facing currently. 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."

Ms Ardern announced the policy in Christchurch on Friday morning.

Labour also promises to restore the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to set an effective price on carbon, and introduce the agriculture sector into the scheme by the end of its first term. 

Farmers would be eased into the scheme, starting off with paying only 10 percent of the price on carbon emissions, and those with low emissions would be rewarded through lower ETS costs. 

Labour would require all state-owned enterprises and Government departments to seek out low-carbon options and technologies, and would require all Government vehicles to be electric vehicles unless there are exceptional circumstances.

A youth climate change challenge would be set up to encourage children from year seven and above to come up with ideas to address climate change. The children with the best ideas would then meet with the Prime Minister to discuss climate change.

"We already have a report that tells us the impact it's likely to have if we don't take action, unfortunately the government has chosen not to release that report formally," Ms Ardern said.

Paula Bennett said that introducing agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme would put New Zealand farmers at a disadvantage in the global market. She also said an emissions target would not help New Zealand to reduce emissions.

"No other country includes agriculture in their ETS. We have the best, most sustainable farmers in the world and Labour want to place costs on them that their competitors don't face," Ms Bennett said.

"All that will do is force production overseas to less environmentally friendly places. That does absolutely nothing to combat climate change and is in fact worse for the planet."

Ms Bennett said the emissions target "won't reduce a single emission", and National is commited to meeting the Paris Agreement target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Greenpeace say that Labour's policy does not go far enough on climate change, even though it puts them ahead of National. 

Climate campaigner Kate Simcock said "What Labour's climate policy lacks is the will to immediately put a stop to the activities, like burning oil, coal, and gas, that we know are the driving force behind climate change." 

Ms Simcock said that while farmers will have to pay for their emissions there are also plenty of new opportunitieis for farmers who focus on regenerative argiculture and eco-farming.

Greenpeace also want to see New Zealand's electricity grid be 100 percent fossil-free, and would prefer to see the agriculture section brought into the Emissions Trading Scheme sooner.

Federated Farmers estimated that Labour's policy would cost the agriculture sector an additional $830 million per year under the Emissions Trading Scheme. Labour have not yet set a price but Federated Farmers made calculations based on 10 percent of a $25 fee per tonne of carbon emissions.