• "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.

  • Medical certificates for all Aotearoa to join this Friday’s Global Climate Strike

    MEDIA RELEASE, 27 February 2023

    OraTaiao calls on all of Aotearoa to take a stand for human health at this Friday’s Climate Strikes to be held in ten cities and towns around our country. 

    “As health workers, we know that our changing climate is both the biggest threat to human health and well-being,” says Dr Dermot Coffey, OraTaiao co-convenor, “and the biggest chance to build a fairer, healthier Tiriti-founded future together.”

    “The tragic losses from cyclones across Te Ika a Māui call for compassion, clean-ups, resilience-building – and most of all, fast cuts to our climate-destabilising emissions.

    “This is why we have issued medical certificates for everyone of every age and everywhere in Aotearoa, to join this Friday’s Global Climate Strike”, says Dr Coffey. 

  • Government must involve young people in climate change decisions, UN says

    MEDIA RELEASE, 21 February 2023

    The New Zealand government has received a clear message from the United Nations about the need to enable children and young people, in particular Māori and Pasifika children and children living in low-income settings, to meaningfully participate in climate change planning and decision-making.

    The recommendation came in the “Concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of New Zealand”, recently released by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.


  • Submission on the Natural and Built Environment & Spatial Planning Bills

    Two pieces of legislation to repeal and replace the ageing Resource Management Act 1991 are now before Parliament’s Environment Committee. Unfortunately, the Natural and Built Environments and Spatial Planning Bills continue a perspective which sees nature as separate from humans and land, water, air and biodiversity as “resources” to be exploited. They fail to effect Te Tiriti o Waitangi and are unclear about how they support climate action. 

    OraTaiao supports genuinely embedding an integrated Māori view of the environment as a key policy intent of the bills, not just in order to uphold te Tiriti obligations, but because a genuine Te Oranga o te Taiao approach reflects the core concept that the health of ecosystems is integral to the health and wellbeing of people and communities. 

    Prepared by representative members of OraTaiao, including Co-Convenors Summer Wright and Dr Dermot Coffey, our submission is focused on optimising the benefits to human and planetary wellbeing by protecting and restoring the natural environment, by effecting Te Tiriti o Waitangi and grounding reforms in goals for intergenerational and equitable health outcomes. Read our full submission here. 

  • Op Ed in NZ Doctor, 16 December 2022: Turn up the heat on emissions goals – Short- changed on climate in year of disaster after disaster

    Despite an increasing awareness of the worsening health impacts of climate change, not enough is being done both domestically and globally, write Dermot Coffey and Summer Wright in the final issue of New Zealand Doctor Rata Aotearoa for 2022. We are grateful for permission to now republish their op-ed here. 


  • Dr NOS interview with Dr Dermot Coffey

    Co-convenor Dr Dermot Coffey speaks with Dr Maple Goh on the Doctor NOS podcast.



  • OraTaiao Climate Action Kōrero 2 with the OraTaiao team: Ko wai mātou?

    Our second webinar: a chance for the OraTaiao exec to share with the membership about who they are and what motivates them to be involved with OraTaiao. 

  • "Now is the moment for free fares" – Oral submission to the Petitions Committee

    OraTaiao has joined the Free Fares Coalition – the Aotearoa Collective for Public Transport Equity. In support of their campaign to make public transport free for all under-25s, tertiary students, Community Services Card holders, and Total Mobility Card holders and their support people, OraTaiao spokesperson and Occupational Therapist Romelli Rodriguez-Jolly was able to give a one minute oral submission to Parliament's Petitions Committee. Click on the title of this article for a transcript of the submission. 

  • Radio bFM: The Free Fares Coalition with OraTaiao's Dermot Coffey, 23 November 2022

    bFM News & Editorial Director Jessica Hopkins spoke to Dermot Coffey, a Co-Convenor of OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council, who represents health workers and students around the motu, about why they are joining the call to make public transport free and accessible for all. 

    Here is that interview.

  • Op Ed in NZ Doctor, 21 November 2022: A COP-out on a #HealthyClimate?

    Given the weak outcome on fossil fuels at COP27, the agreement to set up a fund to compensate developing countries for climate change loss and damage will be sorely needed, write OraTaiao Co-convenors Dermot Coffey and Summer Wright. Read here

  • OraTaiao joins Free Fares Coalition

    MEDIA RELEASE, 22 November 2022
    OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council have joined the Free Fares Coalition – the Aotearoa Collective for Public Transport Equity.
    OraTaiao Co Convener Summer Wright said, “OraTaiao supports the Free Fares campaign calling for free fares for Community Service Card holders, tertiary students, under 25s, Total Mobility Card holders and their support people. The campaign also calls for the continuation of 50% off fares for all others.”