While the Australian LNP government insists it is doing enough on climate change, even as its emissions rise and vast tracts of bushland burn, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern is quietly walking the talk and driving an all-electric car.
Because, of course she does. That’s what leaders do.
Ardern’s choice of an all electric Hyundai Ioniq was revealed during an episode in which US talk show host Stephen Colbert visited the island nation to interview the New Zealand leader, who picked him up from the airport herself in her white zero emissions car.
— Dr Jake Whitehead (@DrJakeW) November 20, 2019
Under Ardern’s leadership, New Zealand has introduced a historic climate action bill in early November that was enshrined with bipartisan support and will enable New Zealand to ensure its policies reflect the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
In July, New Zealand also proposed a clean car standard and discount that would see Kiwis encouraged to make the switch to electric vehicles by providing discounts for zero and low emission vehicle purchases and fees for buying high emissions vehicles.
Arderns’ choice to drive an all-electric vehicle is a clear message to New Zealanders and the world of her government’s stance on the climate crisis.
Ardern has also been praised for an incredible capacity for empathy, particularly in her reaction to the tragic Christchurch shooting in March which resulted in 51 deaths.
Contrast this with Australia, where prime minister Scott Morrison has claimed that electric vehicles will “ruin the weekend” for Australians.
On Thursday, Morrison drew wide criticism in a Twitter post that suggested that watching cricket this summer would cheer up firefighters and those whose homes have been destroyed by the recent devastating bushfires.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.