With the release of the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan consultation document today, workers need assurance there will be a Just Transition that puts their communities at the forefront.
Sam Huggard, Strategic researcher for E tū, Aotearoa’s largest private sector union, says that workers need confidence that the transition to a decarbonised country will be managed fairly, in order for affected workers to get in behind the necessary moves to reduce our emissions.
“The benefits of a more stable climate are for everyone, and so the heavy lifting of decarbonising cannot rest disproportionately on those with fewer resources,” Sam says.
“There absolutely can be a fair pathway to a zero carbon New Zealand, where workers rights are protected, low-income communities’ economic security is safe guarded, and Tiriti partners are co-designing the change.”
“The document released today is not there yet and is missing core aspects of what we would expect from a Just Transition, and so it is now up to all of us to make sure we get this right. Unions are committed to bringing our experience in managing change to the table to help this.”
Sam says an equitable transition strategy is needed sooner rather than later if we are committed to preventing inequalities as we decarbonise.
“That strategy will need to inform all other parts of the Emissions Reduction Plan itself. It can’t be an add-on or extra chapter on the side.”
“For example, supporting congestion pricing in transport but then also agreeing to “look at ways to reduce the equity/distributional impacts of pricing tools” is problematic – equity needs to be incorporated into the decisions from day one.”
E tū will be mobilising its members to be involved in the consultation and will be seeking commitments to avoid market-based mechanisms that hit low-income workers as we decarbonise, guaranteeing workers a voice in transition processes for their industries, and a stronger focus on equity for Māori and Pacific workers.