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Climate change group ‘needs to be independent’: ICNZ

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The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) wants the Ardern Government to change its “zero carbon” bill to safeguard the independence and expert advice of the proposed climate change commission.

In a submission to the bill, ICNZ says the Environment Minister – who will be responsible for appointing commission members – should be required to gain the support of 75% of MPs before finalising appointments.

This would help guarantee bipartisanship in the long term.

The bill also proposes that the minister can direct the commission to be mindful of government policy when preparing reports.

But ICNZ says it “must be fearless and feel unconstrained in its ability to make independent and expert recommendations to successive governments”.

“If it is not seen as independent or is politically tainted, confidence in its recommendations will be undermined and so too will New Zealand’s framework to address the most significant challenges it will likely face this century.”

ICNZ is also urging the Government to alter how it identifies the different types of national wellbeing that must be assessed in a climate change risk assessment, so it can better capture the financial stability of the insurance and banking sector in the transition to a low carbon economy.

The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill requires all greenhouse gases except methane from animals to be reduced to net zero by 2050. Methane emissions would be reduced by 10% by 2030 and as much as 50% by 2050.