Meridian welcomes yesterday’s announcement by the Government to help tackle climate change and help New Zealand accelerate its transition away from fossil fuels. These are good first steps and Meridian looks forward to further announcements following the upcoming advice from the Climate Change Commission.

With emissions being the challenge and electrification being the solution, we are pleased to see the recognition of the opportunity New Zealand has to electrify our transport sector and industrial processes, using abundant renewable energy.  Electrification of transport is truly the low hanging fruit when it comes to emissions reduction.

The broader challenge we face is the energy we use that is not electricity – the fossil fuels that New Zealand burns to power our cars, provide heat for industries and for public infrastructure.  Combined, these energy sources account for 41% of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.  About half of that is from transport.

We strongly support the Clean Car Standard for newly imported vehicles – to prevent NZ becoming a dumping ground for cheap high emission vehicles.  We are one of only two OECD countries that don’t have such import standards.  We don’t want to stay in the slow lane.

Other welcome steps would include:

  • a feebate scheme to offer discounts for low-emissions vehicles funded from increases in the purchase price of high emissions vehicles; and
  • an eventual ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel internal combustion engine vehicles.

As well as an environmental imperative to accelerate electric vehicle uptake, there is also an economic opportunity for New Zealand with recent studies showing that accelerating the uptake of electric vehicles could save New Zealanders $10 billion in vehicle and fuel costs out to 2050, with a further $5 billion reduction in carbon costs.  

The opportunity to electrify transport and industrial energy uses with renewable electricity is massive for our country and, once it’s done, will go a long way to eliminating our non-agricultural emissions. Meridian is committed to working with government, industries and our customers to support the future electrification and decarbonisation of the New Zealand economy.

The electricity sector is a big part of the solution. The industry can and will build the renewable generation and transmission assets required to power growth in the number of electric vehicles on our roads and the electrification of stationary energy uses, ending our country’s current dependence on fossil fuels. We need to focus on projects that will help to transform our society and economy in the next decade as we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and transition to clean energy to respond to the climate emergency facing us all.

ENDS

For media queries, please contact:
Meridian Energy Media Team
0800 948 843 

MediaTeam@meridianenergy.co.nz