What Labour needs to do on the climate to get Greens' support, according to Shaw

Green Party co-leader James Shaw has revealed what Labour needs to do on climate change to gain its support at this year's election. 

It comes after Cyclone Gabrielle ravaged the upper and eastern North Island on February 13, destroying homes and businesses, particularly in the Hawke's Bay and Gisborne regions.  

The death toll from the cyclone stands at 11; nine of those were from the Eastern District, and two were from Waitematā.

Since the cyclone, the Government has announced millions of dollars to support communities in the recovery effort.

But Shaw revealed what Labour needs to do on climate change to get their support at this year's election. 

"I think after the experience we've had over the course of the last seven weeks with those horrendous floods in Auckland and Te Tai Tokerau followed only two weeks later by Cyclone Gabrielle - a national emergency that is going to take years to recover from - now really is the time to double down on climate change and we're going to be challenging all parties to that at this election." Shaw told AM Early host Oriini Kaipara. 

Shaw said New Zealand has made great progress on climate action, but the Labour still needs to do more. 

"It's still very slow [progress on climate action] and our emissions have yet to come down on any sustained basis year after year and we need to make sure that we do that," he said. 

"As these extreme weather events are accelerating and the effects of those and the impacts they're having on human lives and livelihoods are accelerating, we need to accelerate our response."

He's calling for the rebuild to focus on preparing for weather in the 21st century, not of the previous century. 

"That means we need to build back better after this event than we have after previous events to make sure that people's lives aren't being put at risk by the locations or standards that their houses are built to," he said. 

"But also to make sure that we are prepared for the weather that is coming in the 21st century rather than the weather of the 20th century." 

Green Party co-leader James Shaw.
Green Party co-leader James Shaw. Photo credit: AM

Shaw has just returned to Wellington following a trip to the eastern part of the North Island and said the devastation is beyond what you can imagine. 

"I have to say none of the pictures you see on the TV or in the newspaper can prepare you for the sheer scale of the devastation when you see it in person," Shaw told AM Early. 

"It's going to take years and years for the region to recover and the damage is just incredibly extensive."

Watch the full interview with James Shaw in the video above.