James Shaw sings National's praises on bipartisan climate negotiations

The National Party has won praise from an unlikely source: Greens co-leader James Shaw.

The Climate Change Minister appeared on The AM Show on Wednesday to discuss the Productivity Commission's report into New Zealand's emissions.

He says on the issue of climate change and its potentially devastating impact, parties have to put their differences aside and collaborate for the good of the environment.

"You're trying to make a transition in the economy over the course of 30 years. That's going to be two, three, four changes of Government during the course of that time, so it's really important that we have a bipartisan approach to this."

The Government is currently negotiating with the Opposition over the Zero Carbon Bill, a collaboration which Mr Shaw says has been much more positive than many might have expected.

"I have to say that the National Party have really stepped up to the plate on this and are operating on that basis."

Mr Shaw says helping Kiwis to move to electric cars is a key part of the Government's strategy to move to a low-emissions economy.

"We've got to incentivise people's ability to buy an electric vehicle. They already have much, much lower running costs, but the upfront cost of the vehicle is just prohibitive for the vast majority of people. Clearly if we're going to make that transition there's got to be some kind of Government intervention."

He says New Zealand has a major problem with fuel efficiency standards - we don't have any.

"We drive less fuel efficient vehicles than much of the rest of the developed world. One of the things the Productivity Commission said is there's a real risk that New Zealand becomes a dumping ground as other OECD countries switch to electrics."

The Minister says the Government would move to ban fuel-inefficient vehicles "eventually, some way down the track", but the country needs to focus on tightening up fuel efficiency standards and catching up with the rest of the world.

"It is a gradual process. The next car you buy might be a more fuel efficient one, the one you buy after that might be an electric."

He says the Government intends to respond to everything in Tuesday's report by November with a "comprehensive plan for how we're going to shift the economy".

The AM Show host Duncan Garner got in a dig at Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's extra flight to Nauru, which was the source of much heated discussion on the show yesterday. 

"We offset all of our emissions for Ministers when we travel so there's not a lot we can do about air travel at the moment," Mr Shaw responded.