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Youth delegate happy to accept fossil award on behalf on NZ

Dec 11th, 2015 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Latest News, Most Popular, News

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Photo: Mattea Mrkusic. Zoe Lenzie-Smith accepting the ‘Fossil Of The Day’ award.

NEW ZEALAND youth delegate Zoe Lenzie-Smith was all smiles accepting the embarrassing Fossil Of The Day award on behalf of New Zealand at the Paris climate change talks. 

The award was presented to New Zealand after it was revealed the government handed out $80 million in subsidies to the oil, coal, and gas industries.

Prime Minister John Key made a speech on Monday which condemned those kinds of tax breaks.

Ms Lenzie Smith said she was embarrassed but pleased she could be part of an action which highlighted New Zealand’s “hypocritical stance” on the Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform.

“I felt pretty disappointed in the New Zealand government which has so far not been honest about our awful climate action track record,” she said.

“We are a small country but per capita our emissions are higher than a lot of countries in the OECD and in 10 years we will have a more carbonised economy than the USA.”

The award was presented by the group Climateaction.org.

Ms Lenzie Smith is part of the New Zealand Youth Delegation which was formed in June to campaign on climate issues at the international UN Forum for the climate change conference.

She said the New Zealand Youth Delegation would like to see a real commitment to climate change action.

“It’s simple; we want to be able to trust the government to protect New Zealand from the threat of climate change.”

“Droughts in our agricultural areas, rising sea levels on our coastal cities and the threat to our snow tourism industry are all things the government need to be acting on.”

World leaders have converged at the Paris talks this week in an effort to come to an agreement on climate change action.

New Zealand says it will make a commitment to reducing carbon emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 carbon levels by 2030.

Green Party Energy Spokesperson Gareth Hughes said in a press release yesterday New Zealand was being internationally recognised for all the wrong reasons.

“National has increased subsides to fossil fuel industries sevenfold since it was elected in 2008, yet John Key has the gall to stand up on the world stage and talk about his commitment to reducing fossil fuel subsidies.”

According to an APEC report New Zealand’s subsidies include tax breaks for oil rigs, oil exploration ships and other petroleum activities.

Taxpayer money is also being given to the oil and gas industry for research and development.

Mr Hughes said if National was serious about tackling climate change they would scrap subsidies for outdated fuels and support clean, local energy instead.

“My colleagues in Paris are telling me that New Zealand’s international reputation is as one of the worst performers when it comes to real action on climate change – it’s embarrassing,” he said.

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