Christopher Luxon defends National's climate policy after Labour says it's 'greenwashing'

Christopher Luxon is defending his party's climate stance after Labour came out swinging on Wednesday saying National's policy is "greenwashing" or at worst "climate change denying".  

Labour's climate change spokesperson Megan Woods has gone on the attack slamming National saying their policy of opposing climate action would see an extra 23.92 million tonnes of CO2-e in the atmosphere by 2030.

"The National Party believes it can meet our country's emissions reduction goals, while also increasing carbon and methane production and doing nothing to offset them," Woods said.

"Unfortunately for Christopher Luxon his plan to use the ocean as a carbon sink is mere pseudo-science. It's also not clear if he thinks that sea levels rising means there is more ocean for carbon to fall into, or if he's just ok with warming waters, coral bleaching and disruption to sea life." 

But Luxon defended his party's policy on Wednesday saying the criticism was just another "Labour Party beat up".

"They want to distract and be distracted and deflected from talking about what we should be, which is about abysmal levels of attendance at our schools. But it's coming from a Government that's talking big on climate change and just really under-delivered," Luxon told AM co-host Ryan Bridge. 

"So, from my point of view, it is what it is. It's lovely they're fixated on us and the National Party, but they really should be fixated on getting their job done and using the resources of Government to do so."

In May, the Government released its first Emissions Reduction Plan, which revealed how emissions will be reduced over the coming decades - as the country targets net-zero by 2050. 

National has criticised a range of climate policies the Government has implemented and put forward, including the clean car discount, minimum standards for new cars and homes and support to remove coal boilers.

Luxon said National is "deeply committed" to reaching net carbon zero by 2050, but the way they would reach the target will be different to the Government's plan. 

"The first thing is we believe the emissions trading scheme is our best chance to be able to bend our emissions profile here in New Zealand," he said. 

"But at the moment, all we have to do is be able to offset some carbon through planting pine trees and farmland across New Zealand rather than actually looking at other things that we can put into that like carbon capture, native trees and even looking at sea grasses and mangroves on our oceans. So there are a lot of alternatives we could be using there." 

Luxon believes the Government should be doing unique things to accelerate reducing emissions. 

"One would be to make sure we are investing in an EV network, a charging network across the country. Two, make sure we're investing really strongly in research and development and three, make sure we get planning reform in place so we can actually undertake offshore wind and faster renewables and resource consents," he said. 

"We wouldn't be, for example, having everyday Kiwis contribute to the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) at the pump only for that money to be given away by the Government to large multinational companies that should be doing that climate reduction themselves, that's corporate welfare at that point." 

Luxon said National would be releasing their climate policy next year but added they would keep the clean car discount in.  

Watch the full interview with Christopher Luxon above.