Calls for Government to spend surplus on zero carbon goal

There are calls for the Government to put their money where their policy is.

It announced on Tuesday there is a $5.5 billion surplus in the annual Budget.

New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom told Newshub 20 percent of the annual surplus each year should be set aside for the zero carbon goal.

He said Taranaki is ready to do it.

"We'll be doing it for all of New Zealand, but the Government has announced a policy, they still don't have a plan and they haven't backed their policy with any money," he said.

The Government announced in plans to ban new oil and gas exploration in April and submissions on the Crown Minerals (Petroleum) Amendment Bill close on Thursday.

Taranaki Chamber of Commerce CEO Arun Chaudhari told The AM Show the two week submission period for the Bill was not long enough.

"I think the Government has consulted a lot in different areas, but you're right, for this particular bill which is to amend the Crown Minerals Act it seems like they're trying to rush it through," he said.

"The reason we've been told is because they want to get their on-shore block offer 2018 done which will only happen in 2019 because of the timeframe, but the industry and businesses have gone back to say 'we don't want a 2018 on-shore offer, let's just scrap it all together,  what we want is a fair democratic process,'."

National leader Simon Bridges said in September he and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have been working behind the scenes to develop an "enduring" plan to combat climate change. 

But National has also promised to reverse the exploration permit ban, MP Judith Collins calling it the "worst thing" for the environment. 

Whatever does happen a plan is needed to give communities a sense of stability and idea what they are doing, Mr Holdom said.

"It gives local communities a better idea of what harm can be expected and what measures could be addressed to help."

He's worried the topic will become a political football, but said all parties need to cooperate.

"We need all the parties to come together and work out a plan to make an efficient low carbon economy that is affordable for Kiwis and that won't change if we see a change in Government," he said.