Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March's warning over New Zealand not delivering on climate change

Ardern and Menéndez March.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Ricardo Menéndez March. Photo credit: Getty Images/File

Green MP Ricardo Menéndez March says people's livelihoods could be at stake if New Zealand fails to deliver on climate change.

Speaking to Magic Talk's Sunday Cafe, Menéndez March said the Government "could be sued" if it doesn't reach its emissions reduction targets.

His comments follow a Climate Change Commission report released earlier this week, which recommended a rapid uptake of electric vehicles (EVs). The Government has already started to act on that advice, announcing on Sunday it will give out rebates for eligible electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. 

"The report is very clear… unless we act further and faster on climate change, we're not going to meet our targets and there's far too much for us to be complacent," Menéndez March said on Sunday.

Asked by host Mel Homer what would happen if New Zealand fails to meet its targets, Menéndez March said "we could be sued".

"More broadly - what we're going to be seeing is a higher cost of electricity bills as a result of a changing climate," he added. "What we're also going to see is people's livelihoods at stake and, again, this is a response that needs to be global."

New Zealand is aiming for a 10 percent reduction below 2017 levels by 2030 and between 24 and 47 percent by 2050.

"The problem we currently have is that some of our electricity generation is because of coal," said ACT deputy leader Brooke van Velden, appearing on Magic Talk with Menéndez March. "Use of coal in this country has increased under this Government that said that climate change is its biggest focus."

Menéndez March said the Government needed to invest in infrastructure so coal wasn't needed for electricity.

"The message we're sending to the Labour party is that we do want to move towards a green economy and it needs to be beyond EVs."

Ricardo Menéndez March.
Ricardo Menéndez March. Photo credit: Newshub.

He said electricity generation needed to come from clean, renewable energy.

"That means that the Labour Party needs to invest far more money on green infrastructure, and this is why the Green party keeps calling on a much more holistic approach."   

Menéndez March said the party was supporting Climate Change Minister James Shaw to ensure money was invested across all ministries.

"I do think the Labour Party does need to do more to ensure electricity generation is 100 percent renewable."

He said the Greens would continue their campaign for green infrastructure.

"I want to be moving a lot faster on climate change," Shaw, who is also the Green Party co-leader, told Newshub Nation on Saturday.

"But my job here is to make sure that actually, New Zealand starts finally reducing emissions over the coming decades, and actually moves much quicker than we have in the past."