• Enhancing the resilience of Aotearoa NZ's critical infrastructure – Submission to DPMC

    Critical infrastructure provides essential services to people across Aotearoa and it must be able to to absorb shocks, recover from disruptions and adapt to changing conditions. Critical infrastructure is often thought of as energy supply, telecommunications, water, food, financial services and roads. 

    OraTaiao's feedback to the discussion document on enhancing its resilience emphasises that the health system – especially primary care – deserves particular attention. In addition, critical infrastructure protection and enhancement, if designed well, can offer significant health gains through developing resilient active and public transport systems, enhancing the “health” of buildings, and protecting food production. And Aotearoa’s approach to enhancing the resilience of critical infrastructure must be fully enmeshed in our mitigation efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. 

    Our submission on these issues to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, prepared by OraTaiao Co-convenor Dr Dermot Coffey, is available here

  • E-scooters don't belong on footpaths – Submission to Waka Kotahi

    Waka Kotahi declared in 2018 that e-scooters were not designated to be a motor vehicle. This temporary declaration has allowed them to be used and parked on footpaths. OraTaiao strongly recommends that an extension to E-scooter (Declaration Not to be Motor Vehicles) Notice 2018 should not be provided at the present time, for three main reasons.

    The speed differential between pedestrians and footpath users creates a hazard for both pedestrians and e-scooter users. An additional hazard is created by the random depositing of shared e-scooters on footpaths and within cycleways. This is a particularly important risk for disabled and blind pedestrians. Although e-scooters should give an additional option for mode shift away from unhealthy forms of transport such as private car use, at present the evidence is that the mode-shift comes from healthier forms of transport than e-scooters, especially walking.

    Our submission, prepared by OraTaiao Co-convenor Dr Dermot Coffey, is available here

  • Health professionals join the call for cycling, walking lane on Auckland Harbour Bridge

    MEDIA RELEASE, 3 July 2023

    OraTaiao, the New Zealand Climate and Health Council, is joining the call for Waka Kotahi to liberate the lane following the release of a report showing the viability of reallocating one lane of traffic on the harbour bridge for walking and cycling.

  • Submission on the 2023 Draft Advice to Inform the Government’s Second Emissions Reduction Plan

    OraTaiao has made a submission on the Climate Change Commission’s draft advice to Government about the second emissions reduction plan. 

    OraTaiao commends the Commission in offering better recognition of the health co-benefits of climate action and the increased discussion of this throughout the draft advice. Maximising health co-benefits from well-designed climate action centred on human health, could give a shared and unifying focus for building greater government and public support within Aotearoa.

    OraTaiao strongly agrees with the Commission that “Ultimately, a fair, inclusive, and equitable transition means pursuing in parallel issues of social and economic equity and tackling climate change.”

    OraTaiao urges a co-governance approach for Aotearoa so that Māori may co-lead the journey to a sustainable future for all. Ensuring Māori have rangatiratanga over the integration of mātauranga Māori into policy design, development, and implementation at central and local government level, is essential. 

    We also make specific recommendations on a wide range of issues, including Emissions Trading Scheme settings, pricing of agricultural emissions at the same rates rates as other industries, the over-reliance on forestry for carbon removals, introducing a Carbon Border Mechanism, integrating walkways, cycleways, generous car share and easy public transport access in urban areas, reducing aviation emissions, retrofitting of all rental housing well before 2030, prioritising and widely promoting more ambitious gross emissions reductions, a just transition to public and locally-owned, nature-friendly, renewable electricity and ending all new oil, gas and coal exploration and extraction on land and at sea.

    Our full submission, prepared by lead author Liz Springford with support from Dr Scott Metcalfe, Dr Dermot Coffey and Summer Wright, is available here. 

  • Climate Action Kōrero 4 with Professor Quentin Atkinson: Are we evolved to tackle climate change?

    Why are people failing to address the climate crisis? Is it true that our brains aren’t wired to stop climate change?

    Professor Quentin Atkinson is the Director of the Behavioural Insights Exchange at the Auckland University School of Psychology. In this OraTaiao webinar, he examines proposed psychological barriers to climate action and the policy recommendations which have been made to overcome them.

    Quentin explains why they’re wrong – and potentially dangerous. So what does research tell us about human motivation, and what are the real barriers to climate action we have to overcome?

  • Submission on Waka Kotahi Cycling Action Plan

    OraTaiao has made a submission on the Waka Kotahi Cycling Action Plan. Overall, we believe the Plan is excellent and we strongly endorse it. We do however make additional recommendations around urgency, co-governance, a systems approach, funding, guidance for local government, road renewals, grassroots involvement, equity, e-bikes, cycle path maintenance, intersections and roundabouts, car sharing and land use.

    To read our submission, prepared by Dr James Hamill, Liz Springford and Dr Matt Jenks, click on the headline above.

  • Free Fares Coalition Submits Petition to "Keep Half Price Fares for Everyone, for Good!"

    The Aotearoa Collective for Public Transport Equity submitted our petition to keep half prices fares for all to the petitions committee on Thursday 11th May. 
    OraTaiao Executive Board member and Occupational Therapist Romelli Rodriguez-Jolly spoke in support - "Half price fares are a public health intervention".

    See the petition here:

  • NZ failing to protect health from climate change impacts – world health body

    MEDIA RELEASE, 17 May 2023

    Ahead of UN climate change negotiations in Dubai at the end of the year, a report from the Global Climate and Health Alliance has delivered a damning assessment of New Zealand’s commitment to a healthy, climate safe future. 

  • "Global cooperation to secure the 1.5°C limit" – Submission on NZ’s Approach to International Climate Change Negotiations 2023

    Ahead of the COP28 international climate change negotiations which are due to be held in Dubai at the end of the year, OraTaiao has responded to a consultation request from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Manatū Aorere (MFAT).

    OraTaiao believes that New Zealand's approach to COP28 must recognise it as a tool for global cooperation to secure the humanly adaptable limit of 1.5°C of global warming, not a forum for competitive trade negotiations. And before using international platforms to promote ourselves as climate leaders – when there is not credible substance to this claim across all sectors and gases – we must first be the change we want to see globally. 

    OraTaiao has therefore provided MFAT with comprehensive advice. Making human health a key focus of urgent climate action can guide their approach on a wide range of questions in Dubai – including, but not limited to: 

    • Siding with the Global South (including the Alliance of Small Island States)

    • Taking direction from hapū and iwi, ensuring that Māori are fully resourced to participate at COP28 in the ways that they determine.

    • Supporting diplomacy and cooperation, instead of continuing down the path of increasing destructive militarisation

    • Committing to much faster reductions in our own agricultural emissions

    OraTaiao's submission was produced by lead author Liz Springford, with the support of Dr James Hamill, Summer Wright, Dr Dermot Coffey, Dr Scott Metcalfe and our partners in the New Zealand Climate Action Network. It is available here

  • Environmental advocacy & health groups call for Airport to be Kept in Public Hands

    MEDIA RELEASE, 8 May 2023

    Three of NZ’s key climate & health advocacy groups – 350 Aotearoa, OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council, and Generation Zero – have come out strongly against a full or partial sale of Auckland Council’s airport shares.

  • "Don't undermine the aims of the ETS" – Submission on the Climate Change Response (Late Payment Penalties and Industrial Allocation) Amendment Bill

    The World Health Organisation describes climate change as the biggest risk to population health and healthcare systems of the 21st century, and our response to climate change offers an unmissable opportunity to improve population health, close equity gaps within society and give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 

    The approach of increasing free credits contained in this Amendment Bill will undermine the most basic aims of the ETS and make our national and international targets more difficult to meet. OraTaiao recommends amending the Bill to signal to industry that essential change cannot be left until the last minute and that a sustainable long-term plan to transition off fossil fuels is needed immediately.

    Our submission, prepared by OraTaiao Co-convenor Dr Dermot Coffey, is available here

  • The Spinoff: Good climate policy is good mental health policy too

    Clinical psychologist Lucy McLean and journalist Shanti Mathias both attended the youth-led Global Climate Strike on 3 March 2023. They spoke with an Auckland high schooler, a spokesperson for Fridays for Future, a university student and also with counsellor and OraTaiao Executive Board member Silvia Purdie. The resulting article explains how action to mitigate the climate crisis can also help improve mental health. Read it here

  • "Benefitting health & climate" – Submission on proposed Wellington street changes

    OraTaiao recognises the strong link between improving climate health and population health through policy and infrastructure that supports and facilitates active transportation across New Zealand.

    We strongly support safer streets, not as simple thoroughfares or places to store private vehicles, but as a part of living, healthy communities. We therefore support the plans outlined by Wellington City Council for safer cycleways, speed changes and changes to on-street parking.

    The proposed changes to the Thorndon Connections area and the Kilbirnie Connections area will benefit not only the health and safety of people who cycle and walk in the area but will contribute to climate adaptation which benefits all.

    Prepared by OraTaiao representative Tess Luff, our submission can be read here.

  • Feedback on Indicative Strategic Priorities for the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport in 2024

    OraTaiao thanks Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport for the opportunity to comment on the Indicative Strategic Priorities for the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport in 2024. Our brief feedback, prepared by OraTaiao Co-Convenor Dr Dermot Coffey, makes three recommendations to give GPS 2024 a stronger focus on a more rapid mode-shift to active transport and non-polluting forms of transport. 

    Click on the heading to see our feedback below. 

  • "A stronger focus on wellbeing" – Feedback on the draft report: Review into the future for local government

    OraTaiao strongly endorses a statement in the Future of Local Government draft report, He mata whāriki, he matawhānui. “Fundamentally, we consider at the core of a future for local government is a stronger focus on wellbeing.”

    To help mitigate climate change and improve peoples’ health, our submission says that local government should ensure:

    • Fertile land around urban areas will be used for local, sustainable and resilient food production
    • Everyone can live in a warm, dry, healthy home
    • Councils and community groups work together to plant millions of trees in urban and regional spaces
    • Aotearoa NZ will be a country where most people travel by active and public transport
    • The soundscape of towns and cities gives a sense of wellbeing and belonging
    • Young peoples’ voices on the environmental crises are heard by lowering the voting age to 16 

    Prepared by OraTaiao representative Dr James Hamill, our full submission can be read here

  • Healthy roads

    Dr Dermot Coffey letter. Discusses benefits of Christchurch cycleways and opposition from some city councillors. The Press, 1 March 2023.

    Read here.