• 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.”
  • Submission on pricing agricultural emissions

    OraTaiao is relieved to finally see an end to the decades of delay in pricing agricultural climate pollution. But efforts to reduce agricultural emissions should be guided by a vision of the future we want for Aotearoa, centred around human and planetary health. Viewed in this light, the scale of change needed this decade demands modifications to the farm-level levy system proposed by the Government. 

    Our submission is focused on optimising the benefits and minimising the damage to health, wellbeing and equity from agricultural production. Properly designed, a pricing system for agricultural emissions can drive a transition to regenerative farming and re-orient production away from high volume exports to sustainable and quality food production that will nourish local populations.

    Read the full submission here

  • "Exempt work-supplied bikes from Fringe Benefit Tax" – Submission to Parliament's Finance and Expenditure Committee

    "Extensive and conclusive evidence now exists to show the health effects of our car-dominated transport system, including air pollution, enforced physical inactivity, trauma, sound pollution and neighbourhood severance. Yet fossil fuel powered work-related vehicles and Small Business Car Parking are exempted from Fringe Benefit Tax, while bikes, e-bikes and public transport are not. Barrier-reducing policies supporting work-related bicycle purchase exist in many European countries, and while this is only one component of a range of different measures promoting active transport including infrastructure development and safety improvements, it is an obvious area for improvement in Aotearoa."

    Read OraTaiao's submission on the Taxation (Annual Rates for 2022-23, Platform Economy, and Remedial Matters) Bill (No 2) here

  • Break the addiction to fossil fuels – 2022 Lancet Countdown Report on Health and Climate Change

    MEDIA RELEASE, 27 October 2022

    Health is at the mercy of a fossil fuel addiction. That’s the stark message from the seventh annual report of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, launched in London today by the world's highest-impact general medical journal. 

  • Submission on the future of inter-regional passenger rail

    OraTaiao is pleased to see Parliament’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee investigating passenger rail in Aotearoa NZ. We support the focus in the inquiry terms of reference.

    Improving non-motorised transport options will contribute to greater social equity and economic opportunities for people who may not have access to a car. A rail network across the country that connects to other forms of public and active transport will enhance access to society for people living with disabilities. Research shows that public transport is much safer than travel by private vehicle. Climate action through low-emissions transport like rail would make great inroads to addressing the second largest source of climate pollution in Aotearoa. 

    The full submission, prepared by Co-convenors Summer Wright and Dr Dermot Coffey along with Dr Matt Jenks and Dr James Hamill from the OraTaiao leadership, is available here

  • OraTaiao supports "Reshaping Streets" regulatory changes

    OraTaiao strongly supports a change in how our streets are imagined – not as simple thoroughfares or places to store private vehicles, but as part of living, healthy communities. The changes in the Ministry of Transport's proposed regulatory changes will go some way to giving agency back to neighbourhoods and communities, which has been highlighted as a key plank of our climate adaptation response. They will, if implemented correctly, contribute to improvements in physical and psychological well-being. We are pleased to support the overall aims of the draft “Reshaping Streets” changes, though we make recommendations where necessary to strengthen and expand on them.

    The full submission, prepared by Dr Dermot Coffey and members of the OraTaiao leadership including Dr Matt Jenks and Dr James Hamill, is available here

  • OraTaiao Climate Action Kōrero 1 with Alex Dyer: Rethinking and transforming how we move around

    In the first in a series of webinars hosted by OraTaiao, Alex Dyer of Cycle Wellington Paihikara Ki Pōneke talks about the opportunities of rethinking and transforming how we move around in order to benefit health and the climate. 

  • Newsroom: Hospitals’ slow coal switch: ‘Health is the largest carbon emitter in public sector’

    The health sector is the largest emitter of carbon emissions in the public sector. At Te Whatu Ora Southern, 58.6 percent of those emissions come from coal burnt at Dunedin and Invercargill hospitals. As reported in this news article, Dr Matt Jenks and Dr Dermot Coffey of OraTaiao are pushing for a phase-out of coal boilers at our hospitals. Read the article here