Green New Deal News

'We don't have time': Young Greens slam their party's 'incredibly disappointing' ETS compromise

The Young Greens are frustrated their senior MPs had to compromise on the Government's Emissions Trading Scheme changes.

The new regime will see agriculture get away with not having to pay anything until 2025, and only then be responsible for 5 percent of emissions. 

Former Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said it was a "laughable" compromise, but current co-leader James Shaw said it was necessary to stop it being "unstuck" with the next change of Government.

Young Greens co-convenor Kelsey Lee told Newshub Nation on Saturday if the party's youth wing had its way, there wouldn't be any compromises.

"Farmers should be included in the ETS," she insisted, and right away.

"When it comes to climate change, what makes it so scary is time. We don't have time. According to the Interim Climate Change Committee we've got 12 years before there's irreversible damage to the planet. The Government needs to be going further and acting faster...

"When you're in a coalition government you have to make compromises, but it still makes it incredibly disappointing."

Appearing with her were Sam Stead, president of the Young Nationals, and William Woodward, president of Young NZ First. Neither felt there was much urgency required.

"We need a just transition - we totally agree with that - but you can't just shut down or harm an industry to deliver on that," said Stead. 

"What it comes down to is making sure we are able to have a healthy transition to a sustainable economy, and that really won't be overnight," added Woodward, claiming NZ First takes climate change "100 percent seriously".

"I asked [veteran MP] Ron Mark when I first met him, what did he think was the biggest threat to New Zealand, and he said climate change... I came from the United States where I grew up over my high school years and they can't even find a consensus - so I'd say that step one is done. It's moving onto how we can make it without destroying our economy."

"We have to act as fast as we can," said Lee. "What we're doing right now simply isn't going to be enough."

The youth MPs' views on this matter largely match those of their parties. National MP Judith Collins has denied there is urgency needed to fight climate change, despite scientists saying the opposite, because the end of the world isn't nigh.

"They are very earnest and very truthful in what they believe," she said in September of children following the lead of 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg in the School Strike for Climate protests.

"I don't know what they're going to do in 12 years' time when the world has not actually led to a mass extinction of humans, and I'm sure that they will have found something else."

Young Labour declined Newshub Nation's invitation to appear on the show.