The Future is Equal

Archives for October 31, 2021

Oxfam Aotearoa: NDC announcement a betrayal to Pacific Island countries

The New Zealand government’s NDC announcement is a betrayal to Pacific Island countries and those on the frontlines of climate change says Oxfam Aotearoa Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier. The Government’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target sets the bar for New Zealand’s contribution to keeping global warming within 1.5 degrees under the Paris Agreement. However, Le Mesurier says that the target is not good enough: 

“Let’s be real here, this is not our fair share. The government has changed the way they count our emissions reductions to make them look like they are doing more than they are. This is a government that has said time and again that climate change is our nuclear-free moment. Instead of leading the fight against climate breakdown, they are hiding their inaction by changing the goal posts. 

“Our previous target was to reduce emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 on an emissions budget basis. The Climate Change Commission (CCC) recommended that to be consistent with 1.5 degrees, New Zealand’s new target needed to be ‘much more than 36 per cent’ measured on an emissions budget basis, yet it is only 41 per cent,” Le Mesurier said. 

Rather than showing the ambition we need, what the government have done today is change the way they measure their emissions from an emissions budget basis to a point year basis. This means they can make it look like they have increased the target by more than they have.  

Last year, an Oxfam report found that to meet its fair share, New Zealand’s updated target needed to be between 80–133 per cent emissions reductions below 1990 levels by 2030. Le Mesurier says that the government has had all the science, advice and the tools to get this right, but this time has failed Aotearoa, failed our Pacific whanau and failed as a global citizen: 

“We’ve shown that we can play our part in global efforts with a recent four-fold increase in climate finance for countries most vulnerable to climate change. But now we need to get our own house in order. Each Minister in Cabinet needs to take responsibility for that fact that our current plans for domestic action are completely inadequate. New Zealand is not taking the action necessary for the country to do its bit to protect our planet and our people from significant harm.” 

Earlier this year the harrowing sixth IPCC report revealed human influence has warmed the planet almost beyond repair, issuing what the UN Secretary General called a “red alert” for humanity that world leaders must urgently act on. 

“The New Zealand government has shown us today that they are not committed to limiting the worst effects of climate change for people on the frontlines, nor to keeping a 1.5 degrees future in reach. For that to change, some bold action needs to happen to tackle our industries with the biggest footprint domestically, including the agriculture sector.” 




  • New Zealand’s NDC target of 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 on a point year basis equates to 41 per cent on an emissions budget basis. This is a mere 5 per cent beyond the Climate Commission’s absolute bottom line.  
  • The Government’s creative accounting is compounded by the fact that New Zealand continues to measure its net reductions against an inflated baseline by using gross emissions in 2005. On a net-net basis, this target is more like 27-28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. 
  • Oxfam Aotearoa is calling the new NDC target a “scandal” as the vast majority of it is being met by offshore carbon credits – no country in the world is planning to rely on these to the extent that New Zealand is to meet their NDC. 
  • Ardern claims that this new NDC target is New Zealand’s fair share; however, it is not consistent with keeping global heating to 1.5 degrees under the Paris Agreement, let alone our fair share of effort