Climate Change Committee announced, significant omissions

James Shaw, Minister for Climate Change, has announced the members of the Interim Climate Change Committee. The members have a wide range of relevant experience, but notably there is no farmer or oil and gas industry or transport representation.


The Minister for Climate Change today announced the membership of the Interim Climate Change Committee, which will begin work on how New Zealand transitions to a net zero emissions economy by 2050.

“We need work to start now on how things like agriculture might enter into the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZETS), and we need planning now for the transition to 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2035,” says James Shaw.

“The Interim Climate Change Committee will begin this important work until we have set up the independent Climate Change Commission under the Zero Carbon Act in May next year.

“The Interim Committee will consult with stakeholders and hand over its work and analysis to the Climate Change Commission,” Mr Shaw said.

Committee members have been chosen because of their expertise across key areas related to climate change: agriculture, agribusiness, climate change science and policy, resource economics and impacts, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, te reo me ona tikanga Māori and Māori interests, international competitiveness, and energy production and supply.

Dr David Prentice, the Interim Committee Chair, was most recently the CEO and Managing Director of infrastructure firm Opus International Consultants.

He led his company through the Global Financial Crisis and has a sound understanding of economics and international markets.

He is joined by Deputy Chair, Lisa Tumahai, who has significant governance experience and is Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. She is a person of significant mana and standing in the Māori community.

The committee members are:

  • Dr David Prentice, Interim Committee Chair
  • Lisa Tumahai, Deputy Chair
  • Dr Harry Clark, a New Zealand expert on agricultural greenhouse gas research
  • Dr Keith Turner, former CEO of Meridian and professional director
  • Dr Jan Wright, former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
  • Dr Suzi Kerr, an internationally renowned expert in the economics of climate change policy and emissions trading.

“If we want to help lead the world towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement, we must create a moral mandate underpinned by decisive action at home to reduce our own emissions.

“Setting up the Interim Climate Change Committee is a great step in that direction,” says James Shaw.


Typical Green style gender balance with a significant Māori position. generally it seems a reasonable mix of experience – but notably, no farmer representative, and neither is there any representative from the oil and gas industry or from transport interests. I think these are major omissions.

Farmers – morale and money

As detailed in my last post there  has been some discussion about providing state assistance to farmers suffering from drought – Droughts and farmers versus beneficiaries.

Despite what some people seem to think it doesn’t sound like farmers are flocking to WINZ offices. In a drought in 2009 20 Hawke’s Bay farmers received payments.

Stuff reports:

Drought declaration ‘a show of support’

Declaring drought is more about morale than the money, according to a Hawke’s Bay farmer.

“It makes us feel better really, that people are recognising that we’ve a problem,” Takapau farmer David Hunt said.

The declaration was more a show of support for farmers, said Mr Hunt, who chairs the dairy branch of Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay.

“Most farmers are pretty good at helping themselves but if you can’t buy feed because your cashflow won’t allow or you can’t find it, it’s good to know you can source outside expertise to find it.”

What assistance can farmers get?

Government assistance includes the unemployment benefit, emergency benefit, and special needs grants to meet immediate needs and Rural Assistance Payments (at same rate as the unemployment benefit, after an asset and income test).

Help from Work and Income includes childcare assistance, family tax credits and accommodation supplements and from Working for Families, and tax relief, such as filing extensions and options to pay tax in instalments.

Inland Revenue assistance includes advice and support, such as workshops, meetings, technical and financial advice.

Some of that is available to everyone in similar income circumstances.

Banks are also offering assistance:

…would also be putting people in touch with ANZ, ASB and BNZ banks, which had all announced drought assistance packages to those affected.

BNZ was offering immediate overdraft approval of up to $100,000 at a special 6 per cent interest rate to affected farmers, alongside immediate access to emergency family funding of up to $10,000.

Loans to banks have to be paid back.

How much state assistance will there be?

The tight criteria meant few farmers were eligible for the payment. In 2009, 20 Hawke’s Bay farmers received the payment.

Mr Barham expected a similar number would receive the payment this year as the region came off the back of the driest six-month spell since 1950.

It doesn’t sound like there will be a flood of state handouts.