MEDIA RELEASE, 22 September 2023
A Health election scorecard, released today by OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council, shows significant room for improvement from all parties. Representing more than 1,000 health professionals and health organisations in Aotearoa, OraTaiao is part of a worldwide movement urgently focusing on the health challenges of climate change and the health opportunities of climate action.
“The sidelining of the climate as ‘just another topic’ during this election campaign – and the failure to highlight how it interweaves with wider social issues – is seen most starkly with respect to health,” said Summer Wright, Co-convenor of OraTaiao. “The overall message from our scorecard is that politicians still fail to recognise the health risks of climate change, and lack commitment to optimise the health and equity gains from well-designed and Te Tiriti-centred climate action.”
Our scorecard results are based on how the parties answered and engaged with a series of questions relating to party policies for climate and health (more on our methodology here). This reflected not just policy itself, but the party’s desire to engage, interpret and enact that policy with respect to health and wellbeing.
“For too long, we’ve accepted aspirational policy shelved away in some dusty recess of the internet. Now we need to see concrete climate plans that parties actually believe in, will enact and will improve health,” said Dr Dermot Coffey, Co-convenor.
“Our scorecard shows that both the Labour Party and National Party continue to fail to put health at the heart of our climate response. We are particularly concerned about their reluctance to strengthen the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme. The Green Party has come out on top, as they did in 2020, though not without further room to improve. Attention must also be drawn to ACT and National, whose answers revealed policy that is actively harmful to both climate and health,” says Coffey.
“Climate change and a Te Tiriti-based transition to a healthy, carbon-free future should be the major election issue,” said Wright. “We deserve much better from our political decision-makers, and our votes on 14 October should reflect that.”