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Youth Parliament Mock Bill: Sustainable Energy Bill

The purpose of the Youth Parliament Mock Bill, the Sustainable Energy Bill, is to provide a framework to encourage the sustainable use of energy sources in New Zealand. It aims to reduce New Zealand’s reliance on non-renewable energy sources and to reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions through provisions that—

  • encourage a focus by government and society on the sustainable use of energy by setting interim and long-term targets into law;
  • facilitate political accountability against the sustainable energy targets; and
  • require transparent reporting on the sustainable use of energy.

 At the bottom of this page you can find PDFs of the:

  • Sustainable Energy Bill
  • The result of the vote on the Bill
  • Guide to reading the Sustainable Energy Bill
  • Sustainable Energy Bill Notes and Context Documents
  • Mock bills from past Youth Parliaments

Sustainable Energy Bill

Youth Parliament 2019

Explanatory note

General policy statement

Since 1990, there has been a 23.1% increase in greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand. Carbon dioxide and other emissions build up over time and remain in the atmosphere for centuries. This build-up of emissions has significant environmental, economic and social impacts, and requires immediate and long-term actions to help stabilise New Zealand’s environment and economy. Maximising the value we obtain from sustainable energy use has an important role in economic growth and the overall wellbeing of all New Zealanders. Moving towards a low emissions economy and capitalising on our sustainable energy will help mitigate the effects of climate change on present and future generations in New Zealand.

Clause by clause analysis

Commencement
Clause 2 specifies that parts of the Bill would come into force at different times. This is to ensure that the sustainable energy strategy, which sets out how the Government will meet the sustainable targets, is in force before the sustainable energy targets and the reporting of the sustainable energy targets come into force on 1 July 2020.

Purpose
Clause 3 specifies that the purpose of this Bill is to provide a framework to encourage the sustainable use of energy sources in New Zealand. This aims to reduce New Zealand’s reliance on non-renewable energy sources and reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions through provisions that—
•encourage a focus by the public and private sectors on the sustainable use of energy;
•facilitate political accountability against the sustainable energy targets; and
•require transparent reporting on the sustainable use of energy.

Overview
Clause 4 is an overview of the Act. To help achieve its purpose, the Act—
•specifies sustainable energy targets in Part 2;
•requires the Minister to issue a strategy to meet the sustainable energy targets in Part 3;
•requires reporting relating to sustainable energy targets in Part 4; and
•specifies measures to hold the Government accountable for meeting the sustainable energy targets in Part 5.

Sustainable energy targets

Part 2 of the Bill sets the sustainable energy targets for the Government to:
•encourage the sustainable use of energy in New Zealand;
•reduce New Zealand’s reliance on non-renewable energy sources; and
•reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.
These targets are separated into two categories: long-term targets and interim targets.

Long-term targets
Long-term sustainable energy targets are:
•5% decrease in emissions from the energy sector in New Zealand compared to the 2020 emission level from that sector;
•90% of electricity generated in New Zealand comes from renewable sources; and
•electric vehicles make up 2.125% of the total motor vehicles registered and licensed in New Zealand.
It is the Government’s (or the Crown’s) obligation to ensure that these targets are met by 30 June 2025.

Interim targets
Interim sustainable energy targets are:
•1% decrease from the 2020 emission level from the energy sector in New Zealand;
•2% increase in the generation of energy from renewable sources in New Zealand;
•15,000 new electric vehicles to be registered and licensed for road-use.
It is the Government’s (or the Crown’s) obligation to ensure that these targets are met each financial year (1 July to 30 June) from 1 July 2020.

Sustainable energy strategy

Part 3 of the Bill requires the responsible Minister to publish a Government strategy to encourage the sustainable use of energy sources in New Zealand. This strategy will further require a particular focus on reducing greenhouse gases from the energy sector. The Bill sets out how the Minister should issue, amend, and publish the strategy and present the strategy to the House of Representatives. The Bill requires that the strategy comes into force on 30 June 2020 to ensure that the strategy is comes in force prior to the first financial year of the targets commencing. The Minister is required to consult with sector representatives, affected communities, iwi and Māori before issuing the strategy.


Sustainable energy reporting

Part 4 of the Bill sets out how compliance with the targets will be monitored and reported against. It requires the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, with the assistance of the Government Statistician, to prepare a sustainable energy report for the House of Representatives each financial year to monitor compliance with the long-term and interim sustainable energy targets. The sustainable energy report will provide information on the progress toward meeting the sustainable energy targets in the Act.


Accountability

Part 5 of the Bill sets out how the Government is accountable for ensuring that the long-term and interim sustainable energy targets are met. The Minister is responsible to both Parliament and the courts for achieving the sustainable energy targets. There are two accountability measures in the Bill.
The first accountability measure is that, under clause 16 of the Bill, the Minister must explain the Government’s non-compliance to the House of Representatives if the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment reports that the Government has not been meeting the interim targets or may not meet the long-term targets.
The second accountability measure is that , under clause 17 of the Bill, the courts can make a declaration that the Government has not complied with the targets. This is the only legal action that a person can take against the Government for not complying with the targets. If such a declaration is made by a Court, the Minister must present to the House a document bringing the declaration to the attention of the House and containing advice on the Government’s response to the declaration.


Youth Parliament 2019 Bill

Sustainable Energy Bill

Contents

1 Title
2 Commencement

Part 1 Preliminary provisions

3 Purpose
4 Overview of this Act
5 Interpretation
6 Act binds the Crown

Part 2 Targets

7 Purpose of the targets
8 Long-term targets
9 Interim targets

Part 3 Strategy

10 Strategy: preparation and issue
11 Strategy: amendment
12 Strategy: publication and presentation to the House of Representatives

Part 4 Reports

13 Reports: duty to prepare
14 Reports: content
15 Reports: publication

Part 5 Accountability

16 Duty to explain non-compliance
17 Declaration of non-compliance
18 Accountability to Parliament and Executive

The Parliament of New Zealand enacts as follows:

1 Title
This Act is the Sustainable Energy Act 2019.


2 Commencement
(1) Parts 2, 4, and 5 come into force on 1 July 2020.
(2) The rest of the Act comes into force on the day after the date on which it receives the Royal assent.

Part 1
Preliminary provisions

3 Purpose
The purpose of this Act is to encourage the sustainable use of energy in New Zealand and reduce energy-related greenhouse gas emissions through provisions that—
(a) encourage a focus by private and public sectors on the sustainable use of energy:
(b) facilitate political accountability against the sustainable energy targets:
(c) require transparent reporting on the sustainable use of energy.

4 Overview of this Act
To help achieve its purpose, this Act—
(a) specifies sustainable energy targets:
(b) requires the Minister to issue a sustainable energy strategy to explain how to meet those targets:
(c) requires regular reporting of progress toward meeting those targets:
(d) specifies measures to hold the Government accountable for meeting those targets.

5 Interpretation
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,—
2020 emission level means New Zealand’s total carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of greenhouse gases from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020
carbon dioxide equivalent, in relation to a gas in Annex A of the Protocol, means the amount, in tonnes, of carbon dioxide that would produce the same global warming as the amount of that gas, calculated by multiplying the tonnes of that gas by its global warming potential (as determined under Article 5.3 of the Protocol, as if the commitment period were binding on New Zealand)
energy sector means the sector that produces energy from fuel and includes—
(a) electricity generation:
(b) transportation:
(c) heat production
greenhouse gas means a gas listed in Annex A of the Protocol
Minister means the Minister who, under the authority of a warrant or with the authority of the Prime Minister, is for the time being responsible for the administration of this Act
new electric vehicle includes an used electric vehicle imported into New Zealand

Protocol—
(a) means the Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change done at Kyoto on 11 December 1997, a copy of the English text of which is set out in Schedule 2 of the Climate Change Response Act 2002; and
(b) includes any amendments made to the Protocol that are, or will become, binding on New Zealand from time to time
publicly available, in relation to a sustainable energy strategy or report, means that the strategy or report is available at all reasonable times, free of charge, on an Internet site
renewable energy means energy produced from solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, tidal, wave, and ocean current sources

6 Act binds the Crown
This Act binds the Crown.

Part 2
Targets

7 Purpose of the targets
The purpose of sustainable energy targets is to—
(a) encourage a focus by private and public sectors on the sustainable use of energy:
(b) facilitate accountability for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector.

8 Long-term targets
(1) The long-term sustainable energy targets require that—
(a) there is a 5% decrease in emissions levels from energy sector in New Zealand compared to the 2020 emission level from that sector;
(b) 90% of the total electricity generated in New Zealand comes from renewable sources; and
(c) 2.125% of the total number of motor vehicles registered and licensed for road-use are electric vehicles.
(2) It is the duty of the Crown to ensure that the long-term sustainable energy targets specified in subsection (1) are met by 30 June 2025.

9 Interim targets
(1) The interim sustainable energy targets require that every financial year—
(a) there is a 1% decrease in emissions levels from the energy sector in New Zealand compared to the 2020 emission level from that sector; and
(b) there is a 2% increase in the electricity generated from renewable sources compared to the total electricity generated in New Zealand; and
(c) 15,000 new electric vehicles are registered and licensed for road-use.
(2) It is the duty of the Crown to ensure that the interim sustainable energy targets specified in subsection (1) are met each financial year.
(3) The first financial year that this section applies to is from the financial year beginning on 1 July 2020 and ending on 30 June 2021.

Part 3
Strategy

10 Strategy: preparation and issue
(1) To assist in achieving the purpose of this Act, the Minister must issue a sustainable energy strategy that sets out the Government’s policies and plans, and other relevant matters, for meeting the targets specified in Part 2.
(2) The strategy must be developed by a process that involves consultation with—
(a) sector representatives; and
(b) affected communities; and
(c) iwi and Māori; and
(d) any other persons or organisations that the Minister considers necessary.
(3) The Minister must ensure that the strategy is published on or before 30 June 2020.

11 Strategy: amendment
The Minister may, at any time, amend or replace the sustainable energy strategy—
(a) using the same process as required in section 10(2) for preparing the strategy; or
(b) in the case of a minor or technical change, without repeating the process as required in section 10(2) for preparing the strategy.

12 Strategy: publication and presentation to the House of Representatives
As soon as practicable after any strategy, amendment, or replacement has been issued, the Minister must make publicly available and present to the House of Representatives, a copy of any strategy, amendment, or replacement.

Part 4
Reports

13 Reports: duty to prepare
(1) The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, with assistance from the Government Statistician, must prepare a report for the House of Representatives after the end of each financial year related to that financial year that complies with section 14 (a sustainable energy report).
(2) The report must be prepared as soon as is reasonably practicable, and in any case, within the next financial year.
(3) In assisting with the preparation of a report, the Government Statistician must act independently of any Minister of the Crown.

14 Reports: content
(1) The sustainable energy report must include data on—
(a) the percentage of renewable energy generation compared to total electricity generated in the financial year; and
(b) the total number of new electric vehicles registered and licensed for road-use in the financial year; and
(c) the percentage of electric vehicles registered and licensed for road-use compared to the total number of motor vehicles registered and licensed for road-use in the financial year; and
(d) a comparison of the emission level from the energy sector in the financial year against the 2020 emission level from that sector as a percentage.
(2) The report must assess whether—
(a) the Government has complied with the interim targets set out in section 9 for the financial year; and
(b) in the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s opinion, the Government is likely to achieve the long-term targets set out in section 8 by 30 June 2025.

15 Reports: publication
After the sustainable energy report for a financial year is prepared, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment must ensure the report is published and publicly available as soon as is reasonably practicable.

Part 5
Accountability

16 Duty to explain non-compliance
(1) This section applies if the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment reports non-compliance with the sustainable energy targets to the House of Representatives under section 13.
(2) The Minister must present to the House of Representatives a document explaining reasons for that non-compliance within 16 sitting days of the Parliamentary Commissioner reporting to the House of Representatives.
(3) In this section, non-compliance means the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment makes an assessment under section 14(2) that—
(a) the Government has not complied with the interim targets set out in section 9 for the financial year:
(b) in the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s opinion, the Government is not likely to achieve the long-term targets set out in section 8 by 30 June 2025.

17 Declaration of non-compliance
(1) The High Court (or Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court on an appeal) may grant a declaration of non-compliance if a court determines that Crown has not complied with any of sustainable energy targets.
(2) A court must not grant any other form of legal remedy or monetary compensation for non-compliance with the targets.
(3) If a declaration is made under subsection (1), and the declaration is not appealed, the Minister must present to the House of Representatives a document—
(a) bringing the declaration to the attention of the House of Representatives; and
(b) containing advice on the Government’s response to the declaration.
(4) The Minister must present the document to the House of Representatives within 16 sitting days after the date when the time for lodging an appeal expires or, if the declaration is made or upheld by the Supreme Court, after the date on which the Supreme Court made the declaration.
(5) Despite any contrary enactment or other law, the targets do not (except as provided in subsections (1) to (4)—
(a) create any legal right enforceable in a court of law:
(b) affect or limit the way in which a person (for example, a Minister of the Crown or chief executive of a department of State) is required to exercise a statutory power of decision:
(c) affect the interpretation of any enactment or the operation of any other law:
(d) restrict the ability of the Crown to exercise its powers and perform its functions and duties in accordance with the law and Government policy, for example, the ability to—
(i) introduce legislation and change Government policy; and
(ii) interact with or consult a person the Government considers appropriate:
(e) restrict the responsibilities of a Minister of the Crown or a department of State.
(6) Subsection (5) overrides section 18.

18 Accountability to Parliament and Executive
(1) For the purposes of the operation of the legislative and executive branches of Government, in any matter relating to the achievement of the sustainable energy targets, the Minister is the Minister of the Crown who is accountable, both to Parliament and the Executive.
(2) Subsection (1) does not limit or affect section 17(5) of this Act.
(3) A duty, function, or power of the Minister is affected by the targets only to the extent necessary to give effect to subsection (1) (as overridden by section 17(5)).