BlackRock denies it's using New Zealand project to greenwash itself

New Zealand is teaming up with the world's biggest investment company to try to reach the target of 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

BlackRock on Tuesday announced a $2 billion fund to invest in Kiwi clean-tech businesses.

The Government has set itself the ambitious target of reaching 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2030.

We are currently at 83 percent thanks to our hydro plants and wind farms, but that last 17 percent is a real struggle so we've still got a long way to go in just seven years.

It's also going to be expensive, with a recent estimate showing it could cost $42 billion - $26 billion will come from energy businesses investing in themselves, so New Zealand needs to find $16 billion of new capital investment.

Enter BlackRock, they've got the ball rolling with the first $2 billion of that and it's being hailed as a world first.

What started with a New York meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ended with a multi-billion dollar handshake with a different PM.

"I don't think it's an understatement to say that today is a watershed moment in our transition to 100 percent renewable electricity generation," said Prime Minister Chris Hipkins. 

Andrew Landman, the head of BlackRock in New Zealand and Australia, said it's the "first time we've done a country-specific initiative like this".

Worth about NZ$16 trillion - more than the GDP of every country outside the United States and China - BlackRock is so big and powerful, it's been called the company that owns the world.

It has interests in almost every aspect of modern life, like our Pfizer COVID vaccines, banks, social media, and green technology.

"If you look at the investments we've been making around the world, we've been investing in large scale and small scale solar," said Charlie Reid, Asia-Pacific co-head of climate infrastructure at BlackRock.

But then they also prop up the fossil fuel industry, civilian gun manufacturers and weapons companies and are being investigated in the US for investing in blacklisted companies in China.

Landman denied BlackRock was using New Zealand to greenwash itself.

"BlackRock invests on behalf of its clients, we give them choice. We're not protecting ourselves against greenwashing here."

Hipkins said: "The investment that BlackRock are looking to generate is predominantly here in New Zealand."

It will be investing in Kiwi clean green tech, all in the name of our 100 percent renewable electricity target by 2030. 

"Everything is good when you've got a really good goal," said businessman Sir Stephen Tindall.

"So you need a goal to push things along - it is important I think. And I've got a feeling BlackRock wouldn't have come if they hadn't have heard that."

It's a target which has an uncertain future. 

National leader Christopher Luxon was asked whether he thought it was a priority for New Zealand to become 100 percent renewable in its electricity. 

"That's got to be our goal."

Newshub later checked with National to confirm it would keep the 2030 renewable energy target. A spokesperson said: "That is not one of our goals."

Confirming it would be scrapped if they were elected.

"What we're focused on is making sure we can double the amount of renewable energy in this country, that it becomes abundant," said Luxon. 

ACT leader David Seymour: "Kiwis don't want to be part of a corporate global experiment to be decarbonised."

Hipkins said: "The Government's renewable vision and our very ambitious targets around 2050 clearly have played a role in making New Zealand an attractive place for them to invest."

Net zero emissions by 2050 and 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030 - pretty big targets now backed by some pretty big cash.