Government “living in an alternative universe” with 2024 Budget

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Press Release

The Government’s Budget ignores the climate and biodiversity crises Aotearoa is facing and will shoulder future generations with “unconscionable debt”, says the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) New Zealand.

Budget 2024 lacks the urgent and transformational action needed to tackle climate change and nature loss and prioritises tax cuts at the expense of our environment, says WWF New Zealand’s CEO, Dr Kayla Kingdon-Bebb.

"Climate change is on our doorstep now and thousands of our native species are already facing extinction, yet these issues barely get a look in.

“The Government claims its budget is ‘fiscally responsible’ - but there’s a climate-sized hole and nowhere near enough investment in what is the biggest challenge we face as a nation. Our leaders need to wake up to the reality we now live in instead of passing the buck on to the next generation of Kiwis,” she says.

“The Government seems to be living in an alternative universe where climate change doesn’t exist and our native species aren’t on the brink of extinction. It’s time they stop burying their heads in the sand and start investing in real solutions.”

Kingdon-Bebb says the decision to discontinue ring-fencing funding raised through the Emissions Trading Scheme in the Climate Emergency Response Fund is a disgrace.

“It’s incredibly short-sighted to be looting ring-fenced money from the Climate Emergency Response Fund – arguably the single most powerful investment New Zealand has ever made into our climate response – to fund tax cuts.

“What’s more, when nature is already at a tipping point, the blizzard of cuts to agencies like the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for the Environment will leave us bereft of the expertise we need to tackle these challenges head on.

“While Kiwis undoubtedly need to be supported with the rising costs of food, rents, and mortgages, the cost-of-living crisis is with us for the short-term. Climate change and nature loss are existential crises that will span generations - and ignoring them now is only going to cost us more in the long-run.

“Time and time again, our leaders aren’t prepared to lead courageously and the transformational action we need to ensure our planet is left in a habitable state for future generations is simply tossed in the ‘too-hard’ basket.

“How can this Government feel comfortable shouldering future generations with such an unconscionable burden?” says Kingdon-Bebb.