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Is driving on the left stopping New Zealand reaching its climate goals? | Henry Cooke

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New Zealand has long been known for its high ratio of sheep to people. But really what stands out on various per-capita lists is just how much we love to drive.

Exact comparisons are tricky and blurred by tiny countries, but we definitely have one of the highest rates of car ownership in the world, with something like nine cars for every 10 people, and each car driven over 8,000km a year. Given that a fifth of the population are children, this is a strikingly high rate of car ownership – and presents a key challenge to the country’s net zero goals.

Getting emissions from transport down will be absolutely essential if New Zealand is going to get anywhere near its target of halving all emissions by 2030. It’s one of the main sectors that the government can really push on, considering our electricity system is already mostly clean and agricultural emissions remain politically impossible to seriously challenge.

On paper this shouldn’t be all that difficult. With bountiful clean electricity from an array of hydro dams, electric vehicles should make amazing sense here, with…

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