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Low-emissions economy

The Productivity Commission has completed its inquiry into transitioning to a low-emissions economy and presented its final report and recommendations to the Government. The final report, summary material, government response, inquiry submissions and commissioned modelling reports are available below.

Thanks to all those who met with us or made a submission to inform our inquiry!

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  • Our brief
    26 April 2017
  • Engagement and consultation starts
  • Issues paper
    9 August 2017
  • Submissions closed 2 October 2017
  • Draft report
  • Submissions closed 8 June 2018
  • Final report
    31 August 2018
  • Evaluation
    November 2018
  • Government response
    3 August 2019

The inquiry

This inquiry investigated the challenges of, and identified opportunities for, reducing New Zealand’s emissions, in the context of an ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Read our brief from the Government here.

The Commission engaged with a large and diverse group interested in climate change and mitigation policy. We completed over 120 engagement meetings (including overseas), 34 conferences/events and received 403 submissions. Modelling work was also undertaken by a consortium of Vivid Economics, Concept Consulting and Motu Economic and Public Policy Research of different transition pathways to a low-emissions economy, examining respective impacts and outcomes.

Key findings

Watch this 2-minute video to learn about our key findings and recommendations for transitioning to a low-emissions economy.

What needs to be done now?

 The Government needs to prioritise the following actions to achieve the above shifts at the right scale and pace:

  • Establish a comprehensive and durable climate change policy framework, including separate legislated long-term targets for short- and long-lived gases; a series of successive emissions budgets; and an independent Climate Change Commission;
  • Reform the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and apply some form of emissions pricing to methane from agriculture and waste; 
  • Devote significantly more resources to low-emissions innovation and technology to account for the long timeframes involved in bringing innovative ideas to fruition.

Our final report also recommends a suite of other policy reforms to help drive the transition. These include introducing emissions standards for newly registered vehicles, a feebate scheme to accelerate the uptake of EVs, and mandatory climate-related financial disclosures.

Final report & Government response

The Commission's final report has been presented to the Government who announced a Climate Action Plan in August 2019. They released a response to our reportagreeing to 43 of the Commission's recommendations and agreeing to do more work on 33 further recommendations.

New Zero Carbon Act

On 7 November 2019, the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill was passed. This Act commits New Zealand to zero carbon by 2050 or sooner, sets a legally binding pathway to this target, and requires the Government to make a plan. We are proud to see the Commission's work contributing to this Act. Find out more: