Govt appoints experts to tackle NZ's climate change problems

Climate Change Issues Minister Paula Bennett (Getty)
Climate Change Issues Minister Paula Bennett (Getty)

Climate Change Issues Minister Paula Bennett has appointed a specialised team to advise the Government on how New Zealand can adapt to climate change.

The group of ten includes scientists, engineers, a farmer, iwi representative, and banking and insurance experts.

Ms Bennett says the group's advice will feed into policy options for ministers to consider between now and 2020 and the period covered by the Paris Agreement.

Researcher at the Climate Change Research Institute of Victoria University, Dr Judy Lawrence, will co-chair the group with Penny Nelson from the Ministry for the Environment.

The announcement comes as the World Wildlife Fund delivered an open letter to the Ms Bennett calling for action on climate change.

Its 60 signatories include big names like the Warehouse Group, Villa Maria, Logan Brown and the Body Shop, as well as individuals such as Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Dame Ann Salmond and Sir Stephen Tindall.

The letter calls for the Government to set ambitious targets to reduce emissions, create a long-term plan for how to do it, and put in place policies that empower New Zealanders to make low carbon choices.

The open letter was presented to Parliament at midday on Tuesday.

The Green Party says big companies calling for climate action is a sign the Government is out of touch.

"Major businesses don't band together and write to ministers on a whim.

"There is clearly a huge frustration that National is dragging its feet on climate change and holding business back," MP Julie Anne Genter says.