This section has our latest media work (including media releases, opinion editorials, radio and television interviews, and letters to the editor), as well as the latest submissions, publications, briefing papers and position statements.

To access older items, please click on the relevant links above. Media enquiries, see contact us.

Blog from Bonn – our member Emily Rushton is there

The UN Climate Change 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) is underway in Bonn, Germany.

Emily Rushton, a OraTaiao member, is at COP23 and this is her first blog.


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Health professionals welcome MAS's move to divest from fossil fuels

20 September 2017

Health professionals are welcoming the recent move by Medical Assurance Society (MAS) to divest from fossil fuels, saying it shows strong leadership for a healthy climate future.

The society has announced that, from September 14, their KiwiSaver and Retirement Savings Plans will no longer invest in fossil fuels, as well as armaments and tobacco. This policy will also apply to MAS reserves, the money MAS holds to invest for the future and to pay insurance claims.

According to MAS, this represents more than $1.4 billion of investment funds, which “will be playing their part for global health and wellbeing.”

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A Vote for Climate is a Vote for Health

2017 Political Party Scorecard on Climate Change and Health

Health starts not in the doctor’s office or the hospital, but with clean air and water and a safe climate. Well-designed climate action is a huge opportunity to address some of New Zealand’s biggest problems of health and fairness, but continued inaction is the biggest threat to population health of the 21st century.

We asked political Parties about their policies on climate change and interactions with health. Their responses and information on the Parties’ websites were rated by a group of climate change and health experts across seven areas.

The results reveal two things. When comparing parties, the Greens score highest, followed by Labour, and a number of other parties (Opportunities, Mana, Māori) have good policies in some areas. All other parties have policies that are modest or non-existent. The other key feature is that, on the policies available at the time, none of the parties is showing sufficient ambition for a healthy climate future.

Party rankings are detailed below. OraTaiao emphasises that a vote for climate is a vote for health.

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Sustainable Healthcare Forum 24th Nov 2017

Kia ora koutou

We invite you to a FREE Sustainable Healthcare Forum in Wellington on the 24th Nov 2017 (see flyer here) to discuss how the health sector (and the delivery of healthcare) in Aotearoa-NZ can contribute to meeting the challenges of climate change and sustainability.

It will be possible to participate online by Zoom webinar or livestream - so please think about setting up a virtual hub in your region! Online links and instructions here.


Sustainable Healthcare in Aotearoa NZ - 1 day Forum


Nov 24th 2017

University of Otago Wellington School of Medicine

Small Lecture Theatre

23 Mein St, Newtown, Wellington (map here)

Light morning tea and lunch provided


Human health relies on a healthy planet – health care without harm?

Climate action and sustainability in the health sector has the potential to save money, boost health, and to show that health is a leader in NZ’s efforts to meet targets under the Paris climate change agreement. Brought to you by OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council and the Sustainable Health Sector National Network NZ, with support from the University of Otago and the Deep South National Science Challenge Engagement Fund - come and learn with international and national leaders in this field.











SHC programme - word doc

SHC programme - pdf

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DHB Successes in Environmental Sustainability

DHB Successes in Environmental Sustainability. A Report to Community and Public Health Canterbury District Health Board, by Dr Gay Keating.

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Health professionals support legal challenge against government’s climate policy

27 June 2017

New Zealanders’ health is at stake in a court case challenging the government over its failure to tackle climate change. Law student Sarah Thomson is taking on the Minister for Climate Change Issues, arguing that New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target is illegal.

As part of the global Paris Climate Agreement, our government chose a weak target of reducing climate-damaging emissions by 11% (below 1990 levels) by 2030. It plans to achieve this mostly by paying other countries to take action.

Ms Thomson’s case argues that the government’s analysis in setting this target was illogically one-sided.  Costs of emissions-reduction action were counted, but the wider gains from climate action and the very real costs of climate changes were ignored. 

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OraTaiao submission on Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2018/19-2027/28

Submission 31/3/2107

OraTaiao submission on Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2018/19-2027/28 

OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council wishes to submit to the Ministry of Transport on the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport for 2018/19 – 2027/28 (GPS2018).

Climate changes fundamentally threaten human health and wellbeing; yet well-designed climate action can mean greater health and fairness in both the short and longer term. Transport is integral to this. There are close links between transport, climate and health, where eg.: 

  • active and sustainable modes of transport (such as walking and cycling) positively affect health; 
  • the current reliance on private motor vehicle transport has negative impacts on health through greenhouse gas emissions, road traffic crashes, air and noise pollution and increased sedentary time.1 

This submission relates to the GPS2018 and: 

  • acting on climate change
  • prioritising active transport
  • prioritising public transport
  • the opportunity costs of poorly cost-effective roading choices including lost health gains
  • the importance of making transport user hierarchies and the NZ Health Strategy integral to GPS2018's Strategic direction and Objectives. 

Read the submission here.

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Health professionals welcome today’s Zero Carbon Act launch

10 April 2017

Health professionals congratulate Generation Zero on today’s Zero Carbon Act campaign launch.  

The Act is designed to reduce New Zealand’s long-lived greenhouse gas emissions to net zero within a generation. This means by 2050 our dangerous climate pollution will have been reduced enough to be completely absorbed by increased forests.

The Zero Carbon Act – modelled on the UK’s successful Climate Change Act passed by a conservative-led government in 2008 – will bind future governments to genuine action that protects New Zealand.

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Māori health leader speaks about climate change at COP22

17 November 2016

Māori health leader speaks about climate change and the right to health at COP22

World leaders are meeting in Marrakesh to bring to life the promises made to limit climate change in the Paris Agreement. Earlier this week Rhys Jones, a Māori doctor and co-convenor of OraTaiao: The NZ Climate & Health Council, called for climate action that protects human rights, especially indigenous rights, children’s rights and the right to health.

Dr Jones is in Morocco at COP22 participating in an event hosted by the World Health Organization and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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Hospitals should not be smoking a giant cigarette

12 November 2016

Despite New Zealand being a signatory to the new Paris climate agreement, the Ministry of Health is considering the use of coal in Christchurch Hospital’s boiler. OraTaiao, the New Zealand Climate and Health Council and the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA) say to do so would be a mistake for the climate and for health. Although coal burning may achieve short-term financial savings, it is a false economy. Coal burning is inconsistent with the Ministry’s legislated responsibility to protect health. 

OraTaiao and the NZMSA are jointly urging the Ministry to support Christchurch Hospital’s switch to lower emission wood waste rather than coal.

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‘Healthy Climate, Healthy People’


© 2017 OraTaiao: New Zealand Climate and Health Council. Some rights reserved