Business supports NZ moves to limit greenhouse gases: Westpac NZ survey

Fridges and freezers left at T&T landfill dump tip, Happy Valley, Wellington for recycling. Photo by Lynn Grieveson

Seven out of 10 Kiwi businesses want New Zealand to take action on limiting greenhouse gas emissions, though there’s less agreement on the way to achieve it, a survey of more than 1,200 business leaders commissioned by Westpac Banking Corp showed.

Encouraging voluntary action to limit greenhouse gas emissions, subsidising research into carbon-saving technology, and introducing regulations that ban some high-emission activities drew the most support from respondents in the nationally representative online survey of 1,269 business owners and senior managers carried out by Nexus Research in February 2018 on behalf of Westpac New Zealand.

The survey’s results come as the government’s six-week consultation on its Zero Carbon Bill, legislation that will include a new 2050 emissions reduction target, is currently running to July 19.

“It’s great to see that the majority of business leaders are taking the same position as Westpac – that we need to ramp up efforts to move to a low carbon future,” Karen Silk, Westpac NZ’s general manager of commercial, corporate and institutional banking, said in a statement. “However, the businesses we surveyed were split over how that should be done.”

Farmers were less likely to support climate action than other businesses, with three out of five predicting a negative impact on their business under a comprehensive Emissions Trading Scheme, according to Silk, who also sits on the reference panel for the government's $100 million Green Investment Fund designed to support the transition towards a net zero-emissions economy by 2050.

Some 19 percent of agricultural businesses surveyed opposed New Zealand taking action to lower emissions, while 61 percent said a comprehensive ETS would have a negative impact on their business.

Farmers were more likely than average to support voluntary actions to curb emissions, the survey showed.

Support for action to cut greenhouse gas emissions was particularly strong in Wellington, with 83 percent of respondents agreeing, above the national average of 70 percent.