Election 2020: The big climate hole

MEDIA RELEASE, 28 September 2020

Health professionals have expressed surprise at the silence around this century’s biggest population health threat in the 2020 general election.

“We have found that even some of our major parties have either no plans on what to do about climate change or have ones which are actively harmful. Having no good climate policy today is a bit like having no public health policy during a pandemic,” said Dr Dermot Coffey, Co-convenor of OraTaiao: NZ Climate & Health Council, on releasing an election scorecard today. 

OraTaiao has created the Scorecard for NZ Election 2020 to help voters compare each political party’s policies on climate change, health and equity. 

“In the year 2020 we would expect every party to have policies around climate change, and the lack of vision and urgency being shown to achieve an equitable, Te Tiriti-based solution is extremely concerning. We know two simple things about climate change – firstly if we don’t act to stop global heating then we will see increasing health problems associated with heat, more extreme weather events and spread of infectious disease. Secondly – we know there are plenty of opportunities with well designed climate actions to reduce emissions whilst at the same time improving health and reducing inequities, for example supporting the uptake of healthy and equitable diets and building better public and active transport – these are called ‘no regret’ policies,” said Dr Coffey.

“We encourage voters to look at each party’s climate and health policies and seriously ask themselves and their MPs why in this day and age political parties have so little to say on climate change.  We believe that a vote for climate is a vote for health.”

ENDS

Media Spokespeople: Dr. Dermot Coffey 021-02675452 or Dr Rhys Jones 021 411 743

Dr Dermot Coffey (co-convenor@orataiao.org.nz ) is a General Practitioner in Christchurch, and Acting Co-Convenor of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council.

Dr Rhys Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu) (r.g.jones@auckland.ac.nz ) is a Public Health Physician and Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland, and Executive Board member of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council.