"We have to make a stand for our world, and for our own sake"
New Zealand prime minister
"I believe we can aspire to be carbon neutral in our economy and way of life," she said.
In her speech Clark said New Zealand could set an example for the world on climate change as it did in the 1980s with its nuclear-free policies.
"We have to make a stand for our world, and for our own sake," she said.
She said her government would push for a series of ambitious measures committing New Zealand to environmental targets that no other developed nation has been prepared to consider.
Those measures would be backed up by laws including some form of waste levy to help pay for better waste reduction in manufacturing, she said.
But the plan was ridiculed by John Key, leader of the opposition National Party, who said the measures proposed would have an insignificant effect on global warming.
New Zealand is already said to be struggling to meet its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2012.
Among measures Clark announced was that clean-burning biofuels must make up 3.4 per cent of fuel sold in the country by 2012, and a campaign to help households save energy and cut waste.
She said all 47 government departments would take immediate steps toward the aim of becoming carbon neutral by using energy efficient transport and buildings, and slashing fuel bills.