WWF-New Zealand appoints James Shaw to its leadership team

James Shaw
Press Release

James Shaw was the driving force behind Aotearoa New Zealand’s landmark Zero Carbon Act, which passed into law in 2019 with unanimous support and set the country on a pathway towards reaching net zero emissions.

With this historic law, Shaw established the architecture for New Zealand’s response to the climate crisis, including the creation of the Climate Change Commission and the setting of emissions budgets and Emissions Reduction Plans.

As Associate Environment (Biodiversity) Minister, he launched the idea of creating a system of biodiversity credits in Aotearoa New Zealand and finalised the landmark National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB).

The NPSIB clarified existing RMA requirements for councils to manage indigenous biodiversity across all tenures of land in their regions – and was the product of more than two decades of cross-sector collaborative work.

WWF-New Zealand’s CEO, Dr Kayla Kingdon-Bebb, says she’s thrilled to have one of Aotearoa’s leading environmental voices join WWF’s leadership team.

“James was instrumental in creating the building blocks for New Zealand to respond to the climate crisis and is one of Aotearoa’s most respected voices on climate change and biodiversity loss.

“He established that ‘working with nature’ should be a key pillar of New Zealand’s climate response – and put us ahead of the pack internationally with commitments in the Government’s first Emissions Reduction Plan to prioritise nature-based solutions and minimise adverse impacts on nature.

“Alongside his remarkable contribution to New Zealand’s environmental policy framework, James’ time in Parliament was characterised by his pragmatism and ability to forge consensus across all sides of the House and all sectors of society.

“As we fight to protect our natural world for future generations, his expertise and ability to bring people of all political stripes and viewpoints together will be invaluable to WWF. I’m rapt to welcome him to our leadership team.”

Shaw held his Valedictory Speech in Parliament today (1 May) and announced he will be joining WWF-New Zealand’s Board of Trustees from 1 July 2024.

James Shaw says:

“I am really pleased to be joining forces with WWF-New Zealand. We are both completely committed to protecting and restoring our planet’s wildernesses and wildlife, atmosphere and oceans. WWF-New Zealand has both strong domestic policy capability as well as access to the global network of one of the world’s leading environmental NGOs. I am looking forward to being able to support their work.”

WWF-New Zealand’s Board of Trustees Chair, Matt Valentine, says:

“James is deeply passionate about protecting our environment and has left an enduring legacy in government through the creation of the Zero Carbon Act and New Zealand’s climate change architecture.

“As WWF-New Zealand continues to advocate for the protection of our native species and landscapes, I’m delighted to welcome someone with his knowledge, expertise and experience to our Board.”