Newstream

Submission on the Fast-track Approvals Bill 2024

Robust legislation governing land use and environmental pollution is vital for safeguarding people’s lives and their health. It is essential that changes to the existing legislation are an improvement on the status quo, rather than the dangerous and retrograde step in environmental governance for public health that the Fast-track Approvals Bill represents. The proposed Bill risks increasing public health disasters by bypassing meaningful environmental health safeguards, allowing Ministers to approve projects without considering the serious risks to people's safety, health, or to their fundamental human rights. We strongly recommend this Bill is rejected in its entirety.

OraTaiao's full submission to the Environment Select Committee, prepared by Dermot Coffey and Summer Wright, is available here.

  • Submission on the Fast-track Approvals Bill 2024

    Robust legislation governing land use and environmental pollution is vital for safeguarding people’s lives and their health. It is essential that changes to the existing legislation are an improvement on the status quo, rather than the dangerous and retrograde step in environmental governance for public health that the Fast-track Approvals Bill represents. The proposed Bill risks increasing public health disasters by bypassing meaningful environmental health safeguards, allowing Ministers to approve projects without considering the serious risks to people's safety, health, or to their fundamental human rights. We strongly recommend this Bill is rejected in its entirety.

    OraTaiao's full submission to the Environment Select Committee, prepared by Dermot Coffey and Summer Wright, is available here.

  • Health Professionals prescribe a dose of healthy activity – the School Strike 4 Climate

    MEDIA RELEASE, 3 April 2024

    OraTaiao calls on all of Aotearoa to get active and take a stand for health this Friday, by joining the School Strike for Climate Strike to be held in at least 20 locations around the country.

  • Submission on the revised Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2024 (GPS2024)

    The revised Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2024 (GPS2024) is a throwback to a mid-20th century mentality in which the car is king and other modes are neglected to the point of death. It represents an absolute failure from the government to protect New Zealander’s futures. In short, from a health, equity and climate perspective, it is an utter disaster which represents an assault on the health and wellbeing of the people of New Zealand. 

    OraTaiao's full submission to Te Manatū Waka (Ministry of Transport), prepared by Dr Dermot Coffey, is available here.

  • Op Ed in NZ Doctor, 6 March 2024: Metered-dose inhalers No.1 villain

    GPs play a vital part in reducing emissions by adopting strategies including reducing medication waste and promoting active transport, writes OraTaiao Co-convenor Dermot Coffey in NZ Doctor Rata Aotearoa. We are grateful for permission to now republish his op-ed here. 

  • OraTaiao opposes the scrapping of Te Aka Whai Ora and urges delay of enabling legislation

    MEDIA RELEASE, 26 February 2024 

    OraTaiao is appalled by Government plans to introduce legislation abolishing Te Aka Whai Ora ahead of an urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing on the matter on Thursday. 

  • Letter to the Mayor of Auckland on safer pedestrian crossings

    Uncertainty about the future of safe and healthy transport options in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland has increased since the election. Opportunities for formal submissions have been restricted, as consultation on transport funding and priorities has been replaced by edicts from agencies and politicians such Waka Kotahi, Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown.

    Regarding work to create safer pedestrian crossings in the city, negative comments from both the Transport Minister and the Mayor have cited an article in the NZ Herald which contained inaccuracies and was later corrected

    In the absence of a consultation request, OraTaiao has taken the step of writing to the Mayor to provide accurate information about raised pedestrian crossings. Our letter from Co-convenors Dr Dermot Coffey and Summer Wright is available here

  • OraTaiao supports humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

    OraTaiao has added its name to a joint letter to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Manatū Aorere Ministry of Foreign Affairs urging them to support the UN General Assembly resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. The full text of the resolution, moved by Egypt and co-sponsored by 20 other countries, is available here.

  • Rob Campbell: Guest speaker at the 2023 OraTaiao AGM

    Rob Campbell needs little introduction. He has over 40 years of experience in board governance in private, public and social organisations. The last government made him a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to governance then sacked him from his roles as Chair of Te Whatu Ora and Environmental Protection Authority. Rob continues to think that health and the environment are linked and badly governed. We were delighted to have him as our guest speaker to open the 2023 OraTaiao AGM, and to stay for a lengthy Q&A.

  • Op Ed in NZ Doctor, 12 October 2023: Throwing fuel at the bonfire no substitute for climate action

    The piling up of threat upon threat as global warming accelerates is not matched by political will to reduce and mitigate climate change effects, writes OraTaiao Co-convenor Dermot Coffey in New Zealand Doctor Rata Aotearoa. We are grateful for permission to now republish his op-ed here. 

  • “Prescribing a Healthy Planet” – Invited editorial in the September 2023 NZ Medical Student Journal

    Human wellbeing is inexorably linked with planetary health. This relationship has long been understood in Indigenous worldviews and is receiving increasing attention in academic literature and public health movements. The health sector now needs to accept our crucial central role in Aotearoa’s climate response and every one of us needs to add our part. Writing in the September 2023 New Zealand Medical Student Journal Te Hautaka o ngā Akongā Rongoā, OraTaiao Board members Dermot Coffey, Summer Wright and Angad S. Chauhan offer suggestions for medical students and clinicians about where to start. Read here

  • Healthy choices for voters – the OraTaiao election scorecard

    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.

  • UN ruling gives children new legal protection from climate change threats

    MEDIA RELEASE, 19 September 2023

    Protection from adverse effects of climate change has been affirmed as a right for all children under international law by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. 

    Launched yesterday in Geneva, the Committee’s General Comment No. 26 (2023) on Children’s Rights and the Environment With a Special Focus on Climate Change places new legal obligations on States, like New Zealand, which have ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

    “As a contributor to the UN Committee which issued this statement, OraTaiao welcomes its wide-ranging verdict and we urge the New Zealand Government to now honour its obligations to act for our children”, says OraTaiao Co-convenor Summer Wright. 

  • Submission on the Draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2024 (GPS2024)

    New Zealand's current commitment to cut gross domestic emissions is a mere fraction of what’s needed from us, pressure to cut all gases much faster is highly likely, and New Zealand simply can’t afford to shield any sector from reality. The easiest path for the transport sector is for GPS2024 to rapidly eliminate climate pollution and ensure the infrastructure needed for net zero much closer to 2030 than 2050, with negative emissions soon after. 

    ‘Rapidly reducing emissions’ must be the top strategic priority in GPS2024. The second strategic priority is ensuring ‘resilience’. The third strategic priority is ‘health and safety’, as the transport sector has a big influence on the health of New Zealanders. 

    The other three priorities must be considered in the context of increasingly constrained capacity to emit, while ensuring Tiriti o Waitangi, justice, inclusive and equitable access are cross-cutting themes across all six strategic priorities. 

    ‘Rapidly reducing emissions’ which OraTaiao expects must be the top strategic priority in GPS2024, means a major shift in funding across activity classes and years, to frontload investment in public transport, cycling and walking activity classes. This is the chance to accelerate the necessary shift from predominantly privately owned vehicle transport, to shared transport, walking and cycling.

    OraTaiao's full submission to Te Manatū Waka (Ministry of Transport), prepared by Liz Springford, Dr Scott Metcalfe, Dr James Hamill and Summer Wright, is available here

    Photo by Dan Freeman on Unsplash

     

  • "Price agricultural climate pollution fast, well, and right now" – Submission to the Ministry for the Environment

    The Government proposes the deferral of farm-level agricultural emissions reporting and pricing by two years, from 1 January 2024 to 1 January 2026.

    OraTaiao is strongly opposed. 

    We understand that the challenge posed by the climate crisis is to slow, then stop, then remove the flow of dangerous gases thickening the blanket of climate pollution overheating our world. Just like the human body, our planet has a very limited average temperature range where climate conditions are stable and we humans can thrive. Every tenth of a degree of overheating increases risks of tipping points and irrevocable harm.

    As New Zealanders can already see from Cyclone Gabrielle and the Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland floods, we cannot afford a destabilising global climate. What's more, current Government commitments to cut gross domestic emissions are a mere fraction of what’s needed from us. Pressure to cut all gases much faster is highly likely, and New Zealand simply can’t afford to continue subsidising and shielding the agriculture sector from reality either.

    Pricing the mega-tonnes of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emitted by the sector is essential to drive the deep cuts in our gross emissions that are needed to meet our domestic and international obligations.

    We therefore strongly urge that basic farm-level agricultural emissions reporting starts from 1 January 2024 as per the Climate Change Response Act backstop provision - albeit with a small legislative change to use the definition by He Waka Eke Noa - Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership (26,000 farms covering 96% of agricultural emissions). 

    Our full submission to the Ministry for the Environment Manatū Mō Te Taiao, produced by Liz Springford and Dr Scott Metcalfe based on OraTaiao’s 2030 vision for Aotearoa’s transformed food sector and lands, is available here

  • "Either radically transform the NZ ETS, or dismantle it" – Submission to the Ministry for the Environment

    OraTaiao has called on the Government to either radically transform NZ’s Emissions Trading Scheme, or end it. See our submission to the Government’s review.