New Zealand Needs A Climate Change Plan

Published: Mon 2 Oct 2017 11:30 AM
New Zealand needs a climate change plan
Dennis Barnes, Chief Executive of Contact Energy is urging New Zealand Inc to move past debates on technicalities and act on the climate change challenge.
“As a country I firmly believe there’s a real opportunity for us to innovate, to work together and do more to tackle climate change and Contact is keen to play a key role”, says Dennis Barnes.
Contact agrees with the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s recommendations that depoliticising New Zealand’s response to climate change is a key step to be taken. Decisions on how we move to a lower carbon economy need to be made, with emissions targets and budgets, policy developed to help us get there and a Climate Change Commission set up to provide expert, independent and objective analysis and advice.
“Hope won’t help us deliver a low carbon economy, but a plan that ensures government agencies and businesses can work together on how to achieve targets would be a great step.”
Contact believes having a truly market-priced Emissions Trading Scheme, covering all sectors, all gasses and with the removal of existing caps and transition periods, will help spur the transition to a lower carbon economy.
“New Zealand is blessed with abundant renewable energy and we can use this to decarbonise the transport and manufacturing sectors, by increasing the use of electric vehicles and converting fossil fuel fired processes to low carbon electricity.”
“We are actively working with our energy-intensive business customers to help them identify opportunities to transition to flexible, efficient, low carbon energy solutions and welcome conversations with other organisations who are keen to be involved.”
Contact produces roughly the same amount of electricity as six years ago, but has reduced its emissions by 53% and its gas purchases by nearly 80%, by closing gas-fired generation, investing in new renewable energy production and innovating to deliver lower cost and more efficient electricity generation.
Contact is a strong supporter of electric vehicles and initiatives designed to increase their use in New Zealand and 25% of Contact’s own vehicle fleet is electric. Through technology trials across the country Contact is working with customers to truly understand the opportunities for customers in pairing solar energy, battery storage, smart hot water control technology with app-based real-time control.
Contact’s market-leading Green Borrowing Programme was introduced in August 2017 allowing investors, for the first time ever, to have the opportunity to invest in certified Green Debt Instruments issued by a New Zealand company.
Contact has outlined its thinking on climate change opportunities in its submission today to the New Zealand Productivity Commission’s Low Emissions Economy Inquiry and in a short video featuring Contact Chief Executive, Dennis Barnes. A copy of Contact’s full submission can viewed on Contact’s website ( and the video viewed via Contact’s YouTube channel (
About Contact:
Contact is one of New Zealand's largest listed companies. We keep the lights burning, the hot water flowing and the BBQ fired up for over half a million homes and businesses across New Zealand.
We’re committed to a sustainable, low carbon energy future for New Zealand. To us, this means balancing our commitment to lower carbon, renewable energy, while maintaining reliable economic access to energy for our customers. We generate electricity from hydro, geothermal and gas and have one of the most flexible generation portfolios in the country.

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