“We’ve always considered climate change to be a huge threat to our region, and it is something we must take immediate action on,” Ardern said, according to state broadcaster TVNZ. “Unfortunately, we were unable to progress a motion around a climate emergency in parliament in the last term, but now we’re able to.”
Ardern returned to power last month, delivering the biggest election victory for her center-left Labor Party in half a century as voters rewarded her for a decisive response to the novel coronavirus. The resounding win allows Ardern’s party to govern alone, although she has joined forces with the Green Party for the next three-year term.
The newly elected parliament members were sworn in on Tuesday and resumed work on Wednesday in New Zealand’s most diverse parliament ever. It has several people of color, members of rainbow communities, and a large number of women.
In her last term, Ardern’s government passed a Zero Carbon Bill, which sets the framework for net-zero emissions by 2050, with cross-party support in parliament.
If a climate emergency is passed, New Zealand will join countries like Canada, France, and Britain that have taken the same course to focus efforts on tackling climate change.
Last week, Japanese lawmakers declared a climate emergency and committed to a firm timetable for net-zero emissions.