Jacinda Ardern to declare a climate change emergency in Parliament

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will declare a climate change emergency in Parliament next week. 

"As stated during the election campaign, the Prime Minister will introduce a Government Motion to declare a climate emergency next Wednesday," a spokesperson for Ardern said. 

"The text of that motion will be publicly released on Tuesday."

The plan to declare a climate emergency is mentioned in Parliament's business statement for next week, an informal indication of what the Government intends to place before the House.

"After oral questions on Tuesday, the House will debate a motion on the climate change emergency," it says. "That evening, the House will go into urgency to pass bills on tax changes and other matters."

During the Newshub Leaders Debate in September, Ardern was pressed on whether she would declare a climate change emergency, which Auckland Council voted unanimously to do last year.

Ardern said during the debate she'd have "no issue" with declaring a climate emergency after it was previously voted down in Parliament last year.

"It is an emergency and everything we've done demonstrates that," Ardern said. "An emergency in real terms means stopping future offshore oil and gas exploration." 

National leader Judith Collins said her plan to tackle climate change would be to support New Zealand farmers by "giving them the science" to help them cut carbon emissions.

"What we do not do is that we do not beggar them and our country to an order so that we can go and get a photo op somewhere."

New Zealand would join the UK, Canada, Ireland and France by declaring a climate emergency. So far only local councils have done, including regional bodies in Wellington, Auckland, Nelson, Canterbury, Waikato and Southland.

Ardern said last year she was open to declaring a climate emergency, after more than 50 of New Zealand's top scientists called on Parliament to take action. 

"We're not opposed to the idea of declaring an emergency in Parliament because certainly, I'd like to think our policies and our approach demonstrate that we do see it as an emergency."

In Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy's Speech to the Throne on Thursday, said the climate crisis sits alongside affordable housing, homelessness and child poverty as the country's longest-standing and hardest issues.

"Crises do not form an orderly line waiting to be addressed," she said.

"On each of these areas there is a need to do more and go further. Problems that are decades in the making are not easily or quickly solved. But this Government is committed to relentlessly pursuing progress."