Sydney, Australia, Sep 10 (efe-epa).- New Zealand’s prime minister pledged Thursday that her country will use 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, five years earlier than the previous goal, if her party wins the Oct. 17 election.
“The COVID-19 economic recovery represents a once in a generation opportunity to reshape New Zealand’s energy system to be more renewable faster, affordable and secure,” prime minister and Labour Party leader Jacinda Ardern said in a statement.
Energy spokesperson Megan Woods added that “New Zealand produces 84 percent of its electricity from renewable sources now, but we can do better.”
The goal is to become “one of the few nations in the world with 100 percent renewable electricity.”
Ardern, praised globally for her management of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for advocating for well-being and compassion as priorities in the face of economic crises and tragedies, also vowed to accelerate the electrification of transportation and industrial sectors, as well as investment in emerging technologies, such as green hydrogen.
The Labour leader intends to continue with her Clean Energy Plan, one of the central pillars of her government, which also includes the objective of reducing emissions.
Ardern’s promise comes a day after it announced its tax policy, including the introduction of a new top rate of 39 percent for people with annual incomes above NZ$180,000 ($120,240). Currently it sits at 33 percent for personal income over $70,000, and this bracket would remain in addition.
The 40-year-old prime minister, who is one of the youngest leaders in the world, also promised this week that Matariki, the Maori New Year, will become a national holiday to honor the roots and culture of the indigenous people of her country, colonized by the British in the 18th century.
A poll by market research firm Roy Morgan at the end of August showed that support for Ardern’s Labour Party was at 48 percent, down 5.5 percent on July, although it maintains a large advantage over the main opposition National Party, which sat at 28.5 percent, about two percentage points up on the previous month.
On Oct. 17, New Zealanders will go to the polls to elect their 120 members of parliament, where the government is appointed, and vote in two referendums to decide on the entry into law of an assisted dying bill and the legalization of cannabis. EFE-EPA