Zero Carbon Bill

Submission 19 July 2018

OraTaiao submission to the Ministry for the Environment on the Zero Carbon Bill

Thank you for the opportunity to have input into the Zero Carbon Bill. This submission was prepared by representative members of OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council below.

As New Zealand’s premier climate change NGO focused on wellbeing and equity, we would also welcome the opportunity to have further input into the drafting and form of the eventual Zero Carbon Act and the Climate Change Commission.

We welcome the Bill, which is not just crucial to reducing New Zealand emissions, but is also some of the most important health legislation of our generation. OraTaiao, alongside other experts in climate change and health, considers that tackling climate change is potentially the greatest global health opportunity this century. With that in mind, our submission is focused on the potential health gains and the other co-benefits from New Zealand reducing its emissions.

Read the rest of the submission here.



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.


UN Committee on the Rights of the Child 2016 Day of Discussion “Children’s Rights and the Environment"

Submission July 2016

OraTaiao submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child 2016 Day of Discussion “Children’s Rights and the Environment"


OraTaiao is part of the growing global movement of health professionals concerned with climate change’s impact on health. We are a New Zealand nongovernmental organization of over 500 health professionals and associates, committed to justice in global health and health equity and especially concerned with the effects of climate change on indigenous peoples and Pacific islands.

We are very appreciative of the leadership from United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and the opportunity to make a submission.

Our submission considers the serious and potentially catastrophic impact of climate change on the rights of children; how climate change disproportionately affects children; States’ legal obligations; the role of States in relation to the business sector including investment treaties; children as agents of change; and putting children’s rights at the heart of climate policy offers major opportunities to increase children’s enjoyment of their rights.

Our submission is informed by work we have done, including for the Action for Children and Youth Aotearoa alternative report on New Zealand to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.(1)(2)

Read full submission here.


Wellington City Council’s Annual Plan 2016/17 and Carbon Plan Consultation

A: Summary
This submission introduces OraTaiao, describes the basis for our submission, and responds to WCC’s Draft Low Carbon Capital Plan and Draft Annual Plan 2016/17 consultation questions.

As discussed with Neil McInnes of WCC Democratic Services, the deadline for this written submission has been extended to Tuesday 3 May thank you. We would also like the opportunity to speak to this submission, thank you.

Our top ten points are:
1. Update to a ‘Carbon Zero Capital Plan’ as a clear focus for all Wellington’s investment decisions and policies – reflecting the new global climate zero-net-emissions action reality and the 1.5’C aspirational warming limit agreed in Paris a few months ago.

2. Update reduction targets to: 100% by 2050, 80% by 2040, 50% by 2030, and 20% by 2020, because earlier reductions are better and safer, and post-Paris, ‘developed’ countries lead.

3. Recognise that ‘realistic’ means ‘ambitious’ – Wellington’s plateaued emissions over last fifteen years mean we need much stronger deliberate action and investment now.

4. Urgently update adaptation planning with the latest range of local scenarios – MfE’s ‘0.5-0.8m sea level rise’ advice from eight years ago was always intended as a minimum to update.

5. Green all Wellington’s growth projects – urgently estimate the proposed runway extension’s emissions impact (WCC is responsible for climate impact, not the Environment Court), and include climate-damaging emissions from international travel growth in GHG Inventory.

6. Set a target to ‘warm up’ all Wellington’s vulnerable households over the next three years.

7. Plan for ‘Absolutely Accessible Wellington’ not ‘Let’s Get Welly Moving’ – our city’s tri-part transport core is safe active transport for all ages and affordable attractive all-electric public transport (light rail) for longer trips, complemented by widespread convenient car share.

8. Accelerate car share by sharing WCC’s fleet now, active partnership, ‘MCSR’ and more parks.

9. Electric and bio-fuelled private vehicles are for residual private transport needs – biofuel advocacy with investment now in electric charging and electrifying WCC’s fleet is useful.

10. Research with Wellington’s most vulnerable households on how WCC can support healthy and fair transitions to a zero net emissions future – co-creating initiatives (including cheaper public transport fares) to quickly put into practice with ongoing evaluation to improve.

Read full submission here


Submission to Greater Wellington Regional Council’s draft Annual Plan 2016/2017

A: Summary

OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council is submitting in response to the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s draft Annual Plan 2016/2017, available at This submission starts by summarising our main recommendations, introduces OraTaiao, and then gives more detail on our recommendations.
We would like the opportunity to speak to our submission (mainly on topic 3), thank you.

Our seven main recommendations are:

1. Use our finite rates resource for fast infrastructure investment for our zero emissions future – before adaptation costs accelerate over this
2. Quickly put in place the three essential components of our region’s zero emissions transport: i. safe walking and cycling for most journeys under 2km (and preferably longer) ii. frequent, reliable and affordable public transport for longer journeys and for people with physical disabilities or with young dependents iii. a widespread car share vehicle network – to help grow both active and public transport
3. Investigate light rail as the step change to deliver zero emissions transport at sufficient scale
4. Electrify GWRC’s vehicle fleet with fleet cars available for hourly public hire, accelerating car share growth to the hundreds of vehicles we need.
5. Seize opportunities such as ‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving’ (better named ‘Fair Affordable Access’) and encourage cross-sectoral policies and funding that increase accessibility of jobs, study, recreation, goods and services, whilst increasing the region’s population health and resilience.
6. Research (and action) into transport/access barriers for our region’s most vulnerable urban households – so zero emissions policies increase fairness.
7. Avoid being locked into increasing costs of maintaining road access to Wellington’s low-lying Lyall Bay airport, and dramatic increases in climate-damaging aviation emissions.

Read full submission here.


OraTaiao submission to Transport and Industrial Relations Committee Inquiry into the future of NZs mobility

OraTaiao submission to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee’s Inquiry into the future of New Zealand's mobility. 1 April 2016



Submission to the Environment Select Committee on the “Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2015”

Executive Summary

Thank you for the opportunity to submit on the proposed changes to the Resource ManagementAct, the most important piece of legislation pertaining to environmental sustainability in New Zealand. On balance, while we understand the need to clarify and simplify the RMA and find a good balance between national and local interests in resource management, we do not support the proposed amendments, as they do not address the recognised issues with the RMA in ways that strengthen its fundamental purpose as a procedural piece of legislation that supports the sustainable management of natural resources. We make 10 specific recommendations in our submission. They are summarised here:

Recommendation 1: That section 70A Application to climate change of rules relating to discharge of greenhouse gases be repealed, allowing regional councils to consider greenhouse gas emissions as a polluting discharge to air when considering resource consent applications.

Recommendation 2: That the select committee process address the poor explanations made of the amendments to the public, and the inadequate consultation process through improved drafting and public documents as well as a series of public meetings and improved public input about the changes to this crucial piece of legislation.

Recommendation 3: The Select Committee needs to see National Policy Statements and National Environmental Standards as a bare minimum and reject this proposed amendment.

Recommendation 4: Reject any proposed amendment that allows the Minister or central government to remove council bylaws through an undefined argument of “unreasonableness” as an undermining of the fundamental purpose of the Resource Management Act.

Recommendation 5: Strengthen this proposed amendment to specifically mention the need to adapt to the already locked in impacts of climate change, including the need to develop regional climate change mitigation plans in partnership with other relevant agencies (such as public health units and civil defence).

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Submission to the TPPA Select Committee

A: Summary

This submission introduces OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council, describes the basis for our submission, and provides links to two NZ Herald opinion-editorials and a peer-reviewed medical journal paper that elaborate on our concerns.

Our main concern is:

Climate change is a major issue of human health and survival. It requires urgent action globally and in New Zealand (NZ) to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions – particularly the emissions from fossil fuels. The TPPA will hinder the ability of NZ (and the other signatory nations) to pass policy and regulation to achieve this.

Read full submission here.


Submission on the ETS 2015/16 Review - Priority Issues

A: Summary

This submission introduces OraTaiao, describes the basis for our submission, and attaches two previous related submissions, then responds to the first eight questions of the ETS 2015/16 Priority Issues Review.

Our two main points are:
1. NZ needs an overall plan to get to a zero emissions economy around three decades from now, where the ETS is one tool amongst a suite of emissions reductions policies and programmes.
2. The cost-benefit analysis underpinning the ETS review needs to include the benefits of action – including health co-benefits which can be experienced relatively soon.

B: Who we are

OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council (OraTaiao, The Council) is an incorporated society of over 420 health professional members who understand that climate change is fundamentally a threat to human wellbeing and are concerned by this, but also understand that well-designed climate action can bring more immediate benefits to health and fairness.

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Submission on Update of the NZ Health Strategy

OraTaiao welcomes the opportunity to discuss climate change implications for health and health equity with the Ministry and we would like to present an oral submission. We agree that the health of our population is a positive investment and fundamental to New Zealanders’ wellbeing.

We appreciate that the words ‘climate change’ are on page 5 of the Future Direction document under ‘Global challenges’ – ‘the health and social consequences of climate change’.

However, we are concerned that there is no other mention of climate change throughout the Strategy Future Directions or Road Map. The Strategy fails to make the connections between long-term health conditions and well-designed climate action which can reduce the prevalence of these conditions, and fails to consider the profound threat of already committed climate changes to New Zealanders’ health, health equity and our health services.

Read full submission here.


‘Healthy Climate, Healthy People’


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