Gareth Hughes

A Green Investment Bank for a smart green future

by Gareth Hughes

This blog post was originally published over at The Daily Blog:

windmillYesterday Dr. Russel Norman launched the Green Party’s Green Investment Bank proposal designed to accelerate investment in the green economy.

In a nutshell the Green Investment Bank will be a government-owned, for-profit bank. It will partner with the private sector to fund new projects ranging from renewable energy and biofuel production to new clean technologies. You can read the policy here.

I think this could be a game changer for the New Zealand economy. National’s economic ‘vision’ is simply cramming more cows on paddocks ruining our rivers, more coal and emissions, more pokies, more motorways and hoping for more oil. In other words – simply more of last century’s old economy. The Budget on Thursday will demonstrate surplus of inequality, a surplus of carbon emissions and a surplus of ‘deals for National’s mates.’ The Green vision is to orient our economy to the future and global trends and investment patterns building a richer future for us and our kids. The world is crying out for clean energy solutions and as Pure Advantage point out there is a $6 trillion green tech sector we could get a slice of but look like we are missing out on under National. There is a limit to how much milk powder and raw logs we can export but there’s almost no limit to the clean energy services, technology and intellectual property we could be exporting, leading Pricewaterhouse Coopers to identify it as a potential $7-$22 billion annual opportunity.

The lack of Government leadership to transition to the smart green economy is one barrier, access to finance is another. The Green Bank will specialise in financing new, currently unfunded opportunities in the green economy. This package is about supporting Kiwi companies and the New Zealand economy whereas National seems more interested in supporting the Rio Tintos, the Trans-Tasman Resources and the Anadarakos with taxpayer funds. This concept has been successfully used in Europe, the US, Japan, and Australia amongst other countries.

Like Kiwibank, the Green Investment Bank could be an important, enduring institution driving good change. What do you think of this policy?

Published in Environment & Resource Management by Gareth Hughes on Thu, May 15th, 2014   

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