NZ Climate Change Commission Advice to Reach Net-Zero Emissions

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On 31 January 2021, PM Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced the Climate Change Commissions’ draft advice on how New Zealand can achieve net-zero emissions. This is in keeping with the Paris Agreement.

On 31 May 2021, the Climate Change Commission handed the Prime Minister their final advice, and on 9th June, the Commission published the document.

The report, “Ināia tonu nei: a low emissions future for Aotearoa,” provides advice to the government on its first three emission budgets.

The final draft was based around the consultation done from 1 February to 28 March 2021, which has seen 200 meetings attended by about 4000 Kiwis, including Maori.

Since the draft was published, the Commission has received over 15,000 submissions from various sectors giving everyone a chance to have their say to ensure a fair, inclusive, and equitable transition for every New Zealander.

Here’s a quick summary of the Commission’s advice on emissions reduction targets and what the changes will look like on our homes, transport, agriculture, energy.

The plan will set the maximum GHG emissions over five-year periods: 2021 to 2025, 2026 to 2030, and 2031 to 2035, which calls for a gradual increase in emissions reductions from 15% by 2025 for long-lived GHG (CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases) and up to 63% by 2035.

The final advice moved further back the starting line to achieve a net-zero by 2050.  

To compensate for the earlier start, the Commission has increased the country’s carbon budget or the GHG amounts the country is allowed for each five-year blocks as follows:

  • 69.5 million tonnes for 2022 to 2025, or 1.8 million tonnes more from the draft advice
  • 59.7m tonnes for 2026 to 2030, 2.4 million tonnes more than the draft advice
  • 47.9m tonnes for 2031 to 2035, 3.3 million tonnes more than the draft advice

The cost of transition.

The transitions set out in the final advice will reduce 1.2% of GDP growth by 2050, 1% from the draft advice, but the cost of inaction will almost double GDP growth reduction at 2.3%. So, acting now will be better for the economy.

What the changes will look like.

In NZ homes

  • Gas appliances will be changed to electric and wood. The Commission suggests 2025 as a date that homes or businesses can no longer install a gas network. It also advises starting phasing out natural gas appliances in the 2030s.
  • A household’s average natural gas bill could reach $300 or higher due to the rising price of natural gas, petrol, diesel, and carbon pollution costs by 2035. It will make sense to switch to electric appliances.
  • Solar panels will become common, and communities will be encouraged to run a small-scale wind and solar farms to help meet electricity demands.
  • New houses will be warmer and drier, requiring less energy to heat in winter and cool in summer and generate lower electric bills.
  • Denser neighborhoods, but people will have more access to all kinds of transport: public, cycleways, footpaths, ferries, and trains.
  • Food waste will be composted or sent to landfills that capture methanes.


  • Most imported cars will be electric by 2025, petrol and diesel will be banned starting 2030 but later than 2035. Petrol will be mixed with an increased proportion of biofuels.
  • Decarbonising road transport by 2050.
  • More people will be walking, cycling, and using public transport by the end of 2022 and lowering public transport fares to encourage more use of public transport.
  • Use of more ships and rail to transport goods. Ferries and cargo ships will be electrified.
  • Domestic flights will be electrified by 2030.

At Industry

  • Up to 1,400 people working in fossil fuel industries will retire or transition to cleaner energy. 2300 vehicle mechanics will retire or change jobs.
  • Factories will replace the use of coal and gas for electricity, wood waste, and hydrogen. Coal boilers will be banned except for businesses requiring very high heat.
  • Packaging will increasingly become recyclable and reusable. Refrigerants will be phased out.


  • Reduction in the number of cattle and sheep by 13.6% to meet carbon reductions emission target of 10% by 2030.
  • Use of vaccine or food additive to reduce methane in herds.
  • Reduction of fertiliser use as these emits GHG gases.
  • Setting a farm emission carbon pricing scheme or including agriculture in the ETS



  • Banning of native deforestation from 2025
  • Creating a comprehensive plan for new native forest
  • Establish native forests on less productive and steeper lands: 300 thousand hectares for new native forests and 380 thousand hectares for exotic forest between 2021 and 2035.

Rod Carr, chair of the Commission, says that the advice met New Zealand’s Climate Change Response Act obligation.

He echoed what the PM has said during the draft announcement that climate actions laid out in the final advice are “achievable, affordable and acceptable ways to meet NZ emissions targets and now is the time for accelerating action.”

To view the Climate Change Commission final advice, click the link below:

Source Citation:

Ināia tonu nei: a low emissions future for Aotearoa. (2021, 31 May). Climate Change Commission. Retrieved from

Our final advice delivered to government. He Pou a Rangi Climate Change Commission. Retrieved from

Wannan, O. (2021 10 June). What does the Climate Change Commission’s roadmap mean for our lives? Stuff. Retrieved from

Cardwell, H. (2021, 9 June). Climate Change Commission release final report, says nearly all cars imported by 2035 must be electric. RNZ. Retrieved from

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