National refuses to commit to carbon neutral target

Chris Bishop.
Chris Bishop. Photo credit: Getty

Labour has one, the Greens have one, but National still won't commit to a carbon neutral target for New Zealand.

Both Labour and Greens, likely coalition partners, have committed to a carbon-neutral country by 2050 - but National won't commit to one of its own - and the party doesn't think it's possible within the next century.

"It certainly won't happen by 2050, it might happen by 2100," National's Chris Bishop said in the Young Voters' Debate hosted by 1 News.

When prompted by the Greens' Chloe Swarbrick, he said he takes the issue seriously as his home is one of tens of thousands threatened by sea level rise in the next five decades, but he dug his heels in when she pushed further and said: "Great! Put a goal in place!"

"We don't have a stated policy goal of carbon neutrality. Our goal is to meet our international commitments, take climate change seriously, invest in the stuff that actually makes a difference which is the science around agricultural emissions reductions," Mr Bishop said.

"This might not be a popular view, but whether or not New Zealand becomes carbon neutral by 2050, will not stop hurricanes and sea level rise in New Zealand. We are 0.16 percent of global emissions."

At the debate, New Zealand First's Darroch Ball - which hasn't locked in to forming a Government with either National or Labour - said climate change was a "very important" issue for this generation.

However, he wouldn't go as far as agreeing with Ms Ardern's firm stance that climate change was the "nuclear free" moment of this generation.

He was repeatedly asked if yes or no, he agreed with Ms Ardern's statement. Instead, he repeated "it's very important" several times.

Mr Bishop and ACT's David Seymour - who currently holds his seat due to a deal with National - were the only other politicians on the stage that night to disagree with Ms Ardern's statement.

When asked if he woke up thinking of climate change, Mr Bishop's answer was "no".

"At the moment I wake up thinking about all of the things I have to do to try and win my electorate seat," Mr Bishop said.

However he quickly backpedalled.

"I do worry about it, I do genuinely worry about it. When I talk to young people they say exactly the same thing to me, so I do worry about it."