News

Can green technology drive New Zealand’s economy?

New Zealand’s Green Party has made a strong call for “green” technology and innovation, saying it can boost the national economy.

Website-Article-Image---Green-Lightbulb

Technological advancement is crucial to maintaining the strength and progress of any economy – however, countries must take care to ensure they’re only investing in the right areas.

That is the recommendation from a recent New Zealand Green Party statement, which was commenting on the Productivity Commission’s latest working paper. The report found that much work can be done to improve New Zealand’s overall level of labour productivity, which will in turn boost economic results for the country.

The Productivity Commission’s paper stressed that the right technologies and innovation are key to fuelling this economic growth, as they have the potential to complement human labour and increase efficiencies. However, the Green Party’s Economics Spokesperson and Co-leader Russel Norman said keeping the needs of the environment in mind is also critical.

“The Productivity Commission working paper shows that New Zealand can’t continue with business as usual if we’re to have a clean environment and the kinds of wage growth that will make New Zealanders better off in the long term,” he said.

“We need to invest more in research and development, so that we can protect the environment and have better living standards at the same time.”

Dr Norman also revealed that within the next three years, the market for clean technology is expected to be worth around NZ$8.8 trillion. He urged the nation to focus more efforts into this market instead of relying on traditional industries such as dairy and oil, which are both prone to international volatility and can harm the environment.

So what can be done to promote the adoption of clean, green technology in New Zealand?

A green future starts at the grassroots

According to Dr Norman, education at all levels – from early childhood to university and beyond – is crucial to fostering a green technology mindset in New Zealand.

“The report finds that a high-quality education system is ‘critical’ so that New Zealand workers have the skills needed to adapt to changing technologies in the workplace,” he said.

However, he drew attention to the concern that the government is currently “underinvesting” in education opportunities – and his party has plans in place to rectify this.

“The Green Party has a plan to create 1,000 new tertiary places for our young people to become engineers, scientists, and high-tech specialists so that they can drive the transition to a smart green economy,” he explained.

“We need a smart green economy that creates real value, safeguards the environment, and shares the outcomes with all New Zealanders.”

As more people across the nation recognise the benefits of green technology, more skilled professionals are likely to be trained in this area – and will likely secure the future of the country for years to come.