Former government initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

This page provides information on the Projects to Reduce Emissions Programme and Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements which were former government initiatives to reduce New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Projects to Reduce Emissions Programme

The New Zealand Government launched the Projects to Reduce Emissions (PRE) Programme in 2003 to support initiatives that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The incentive for tendering for PRE was the provision of emissions units, or ‘carbon credits’ in return for emission reductions. An emission unit represents one metric tonne of carbon dioxide or the equivalent of any other greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide equivalent). Emission units were internationally tradable and added to the financial value of the project.

The main criterion for projects

The main criterion of PRE was for projects to reduce emissions beyond business-as-usual reduction goals. This helped bring forward projects that would not otherwise have been economic. The greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to occur over the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008-2012).

Projects also had to take place in New Zealand and result in a reduction in the total greenhouse gas emissions reported in New Zealand’s greenhouse gas inventory. This meant that they were counted towards New Zealand’s commitment under the Kyoto Protocol.

Now the first commitment period has ended, the PRE Programme has concluded.

Table of completed projects from the Projects to Reduce Emissions Programme
Project owner Project Emission units available
Christchurch City Council Burwood Landfill Gas Utilisation Project 200,000
Energy for Industry Nelson Landfill Gas Utilisation Project 28,000
Genesis Power Ltd Extension to the Hau Nui wind farm 50,550
Geothermal Developments Ltd KA24 geothermal project 130,931
HG Leach & Co Tirohia Landfill Gas 28,000
Meridian Energy Ltd Te Apiti wind farm 530,000
Meridian Energy Ltd Project White Hill wind farm 642,469
Mighty River Power Ltd Rotokawa geothermal electricity generation project 790,923
Mighty River Power Ltd Putauaki Geothermal Project 1,209,904
NZ Windfarms Ltd Te Rere Hau windfarm project 410,296
Northpower Wairua Hydro Scheme Capacity Increase 17,155
Palmerston North City Council Awapuni Landfill Project 149,006
Rotorua District Council Rotorua Landfill Gas project 3,033
Todd Energy Ltd McKee Mangahewa Cogeneration project 37,645
TrustPower Ltd Tararua wind farm II 228,000
TrustPower Ltd Waipori Hydro Project 72,695
TrustPower Ltd Taranaki Hydro Project 10,208
TrustPower Ltd Tararua Wind Farm Stage III 971,250
Watercare Services Ltd Mini Hydro-electricity generation projects 5,400
Total emission units available   5,515,465

Joint Implementation initiatives

PRE projects were eligible to become Joint Implementation (JI) initiatives. This meant that project owners could sell the emission units they ‘earned’ through the Kyoto Protocol’s JI mechanism. The following link lists PRE projects that were approved as JI initiatives.

New Zealand JI projects [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change website]

Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements

In 2007, the Government intended to introduce a carbon tax initially set at $15 a tonne of carbon dioxide. This tax was to apply to carbon dioxide emissions from the consumption of fossil fuels, such as coal, gas, petrol; and from industrial processes.

The Government introduced Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements (NGA) for firms or industries that, as a result of the carbon tax, faced significant risk to their competitiveness relative to producers in countries with less stringent climate change policies.

To reduce the impact of the carbon tax on these New Zealand firms, the Crown entered into negotiations for a NGA with firms that met the eligibility criteria.  

NGAs were negotiated with Refining New Zealand and OceanaGold Limited before the Government decided not to proceed with its proposed carbon tax. No further NGAs were entered into.

The NGA with OceanaGold Limited concluded on 31 December 2012 and the NGA with Refining New Zealand concludes on 31 December 2022.