Jacinda Ardern praises Government's united front in passionate speech after Zero Carbon Bill passes

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has delivered an impassioned speech at Parliament after the "historic" Zero Carbon Bill passed its final reading on Thursday.

Ardern compared "the biggest challenge of our time", climate change, to this generation's "nuclear moment". 

"We have to start moving beyond targets, moving beyond aspiration, moving beyond statements of hope and deliver signs of action," she declared. 

"A nuclear-free moment needs to be coupled with action. This is the foundation in our Zero Carbon Bill, but we need to move beyond that.

"We've already set an aspiration that as a nation, we will plant 1 billion trees and 140 million are already in the ground."

Ardern detailed Labour's progress on climate action, highlighting the Government's successes and goals over the last two years.

"We have said we must transition our electricity generation and we have a goal of 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025. Next year, the first green hydrogen plant will be opened in New Zealand. It is an exciting time for energy innovation. 

"We have pledged to stop permits for offshore oil and gas exploration. We've funded the new energy research centre in Taranaki. We are working on making low-emissions vehicles cheaper... we have historically reached an agreement with our primary sector leaders to price agricultural emissions in 2025. 

"That makes us the first in the world to do that... we have done that together... we have done more in 24 months than any Government in New Zealand has ever done on climate action. But we have not done it alone."

The Bill, which was put forward by Climate Change Minister James Shaw, passed with the support of National. The party is promising to make amendments to the Bill if elected in 2020.

However, the legislation didn't need National's support to pass as Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First make a majority. 

The Prime Minister concluded her speech by touching on unity. 

"When we think of climate change versus the nuclear-free moment, there are some differences but there are some similarities. One similarity is that a nuclear-free moment in New Zealand was something that unified us. Thank you, National for supporting this bill. 

"We have to be unified in the fight against climate change... today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... we in New Zealand are on the right side of history."

So far, ACT is the only party that hasn't supported the legislation. 

The Zero Carbon Bill commits New Zealand to keeping global warming below 1.5degC.

Ardern said the Government is embedding it in legislation not just because of the Paris Agreement - which National signed up to in 2016 - but because it would show "our Pacific neighbours" that New Zealand wants to help.

The Bill will also lead to the establishment of a Climate Change Commission which will "help us to establish the targets that we need across the spectrum, and will provide for us advice on issues like methane".