This section has our latest media work (including media releases, opinion editorials, radio and television interviews, and letters to the editor), as well as the latest submissions, publications, briefing papers and position statements.

To access older items, please click on the relevant links above. Media enquiries, see contact us.


Q&A in The Conversation, 7 August 2019

Climate Q&A: will we be less healthy because of climate change? Dr Alexandra Macmillan. The Conversation, 7 August 2019.

The overwhelmingly negative effects of climate change on health are a strong argument for urgent action to reduce our climate pollution. More here.

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Zero Carbon Bill

OraTaiao submission on the Zero Carbon Bill - Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act, 15 July 2019

"We welcome the Bill, which is not only crucial to reducing New Zealand emissions, but is also among our generation’s most important pieces of health legislation. OraTaiao, alongside other experts in climate change and health, strongly believes that tackling climate change is potentially the greatest global health opportunity of the century. Our submission is focused on the potential health gains and the other co-benefits that can result from well-designed strategies to reduce New Zealand’s emissions...

"We have major concerns, however, that the Bill: does not adequately embed health and health equity; does not adequately incorporate the benefits, costs, and risks of climate action; fails to make adequate provision for meeting the government’s obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi; fails to demonstrate true domestic and international leadership on greenhouse gas reduction targets; lacks enforceability mechanisms that are necessary to ensure that greenhouse gas targets are met."

Read the submission here (PDF).

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Submit on the Zero Carbon Bill

Help put health at the heart of the bill!

The Government is consulting on the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill. The bill needs to be strengthened and to explicitly reference health, health equity and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

We encourage you to make a submission as an individual or on behalf of your organisation. Closing date for submissions is 16 July 2019. 

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Column in Otago Daily Times, 24 June 2019

A clean bill of health. Dr Alexandra Macmillan. Otago Daily Times, 24 June 2019.

Strong legislation on addressing climate change can leave us all better off. Read article here.

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Can what we eat help save the world?

Article by Rebecca Sinclair. Te Puawai: The Professional Update for Registered Nurses, May 2019. Read here (PDF).

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Sustainable Healthcare Forum 8th May 2019

The 2nd Sustainable Healthcare Forum was organised by OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council, and the Sustainable Health Sector National Network NZ (SHSNN)

Watch recordings and presentations from the 2nd Sustainable Healthcare in Aotearoa-NZ Forum, Wellington, 8th May 2019

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NZ Herald: 'Show us how it's done' - 22 leading NZ academics who back the School Strike 4 Climate

Article on the School Strikes for Climate with comments by Co-convenors Dr Alex Macmillan and Dr Rhys Jones. Read here.

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Zero Carbon Bill is critical legislation for health, but targets are too little, too late

MEDIA STATEMENT

8 May 2019

Health professionals have offered a mixed response to the Zero Carbon Bill, which was introduced into Parliament today. They applaud its purpose to prevent global warming of more than 1.5 degrees, but say aspects of the bill lack the necessary urgency and accountability.

“The Bill’s targets as they stand today would be too little, too late,” said Dr Rhys Jones, Co-convenor of OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council. “The Zero Carbon Bill is too weak on agricultural emissions which comprise almost half of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions. We need to see a move away from beef and dairy for both the sake of human and planetary health.”

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NZ's health sector asks for government targets on DHB emissions

MEDIA RELEASE

8 May 2019

Health workers delivered a strong message to the Coalition Government at the National Forum on Sustainable Healthcare today. They are asking for urgent policy to ensure that District Health Boards (DHBs) and the wider health sector are held accountable for their greenhouse gas emissions and environmental footprint.

An open letter to the Ministers of Health and Climate Change was presented. Signed by over 900 New Zealand healthcare workers wanting change, the message to the Government is that the health sector is ready to lead NZ to a sustainable and healthy future.

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Climate change and indigenous health promotion

Research article by Dr Rhys Jones. Global Health Promotion Journal, 9 April 2019. Read here (PDF).

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Agricultural sector must be held accountable for climate and health harm

MEDIA RELEASE

26 March 2019

Health professionals have expressed concern about a newly-released report by New Zealand’s Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment examining how to deal with greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. While the report contains some useful ideas, they say, it fails to hold the agricultural sector accountable for its harm to both the environment and human health.

In considering the merits of potential policy options, the report proposes leaving biological emissions out of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and instead taking a ‘landscape approach’ to managing climate and environmental issues. It effectively undermines the case for the agricultural sector to immediately face a price on biological emissions under the ETS.

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Radio Waatea: Citizenship lesson from climate strike

Co-convenor, Dr Alexandra Macmillan, says young people will face the burden of extreme weather events. Interview here.

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Health professionals support students in their strike for healthy climate action

MEDIA STATEMENT
13 March 2019

Health professionals are pledging their support for school students around New Zealand who will be striking this Friday to call for meaningful action on climate change.

“As health professionals we know that climate change is already affecting the wellbeing of children and young people,” says Dr Alex Macmillan, Co-convenor of OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council.

“For as long as adults in leadership and government fail to act adequately to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, we will support school students to strike in protection of their own futures.”

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Column in Otago Daily Times, 11 March 2019

Striking at the heart of the issue. Dr Alex Macmillan. Otago Daily Times, 11 March 2019.

Children are going on strike over their health and wellbeing while schools are still burning coal. More here.

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Government procurement guidelines - 4th edition

OraTaiao submission, 5 March 2019

'Climate change is increasingly recognised as the biggest global health threat of the 21st Century, as well as the greatest opportunity to improve health. As senior doctors, nurses and other health professionals, we are advocating on behalf of our patients and communities. One of our strategic priorities is to: “Demonstrate leadership in achieving a climate-resilient net zero emissions health sector”.'

'Procurement contracts are a powerful tool to leverage action on climate change and as New Zealand is a signatory to the Paris Agreement, the success of New Zealand’s obligations will hinge on precisely such measures as government procurement rules.'

Read the submission here (PDF).

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Submit on government procurement rules!

The Government is consulting on its procurement rules, which affect the $41 billion it spends each year buying goods and services from third party suppliers. Procurement contracts are a powerful tool to leverage action on climate change.

Please take the time to submit on the proposed changes.

Consultation closes at 5pm on Tuesday 5 March 2019.

Click here to complete online, and read more below on how to submit and suggested submission points.

 

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OraTaiao Strategic Planning Meeting 2019

Wellington, 16 February 2019, 9am-3.30pm
We are holding our 2-yearly Strategic Planning Meeting at the medical school in Wellington on Saturday 16 February. All members are welcome to attend and provide input. We will use the day to develop OraTaiao’s strategic direction and priorities for the next two years (2019-2021). As well as that, it is a great (and relatively rare) chance to catch up face-to-face. We will begin with morning tea at 9am for a 9.30am start. Members please check your emails for details of how to join in person or by video/teleconference.

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Health professionals welcome ‘Great Food Transformation’

MEDIA STATEMENT
18 January 2018

New Zealand health professionals are applauding a landmark report that outlines how to achieve healthy and sustainable eating patterns for a future global population of 10 billion people.

The report was produced by the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health – a partnership between a global non-profit group and one of the world’s leading medical journals. It is the product of three years of work by 37 international experts working across a range of scientific disciplines.

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Stuff.co.nz: Māori are among the most vulnerable to climate change

Article on how Māori communities are facing up to threats of coastal erosion and flooding as a result of climate change, with comments from Dr Rhys Jones, OraTaiao Co-convenor. Read here.

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NZ Herald: Report: Climate change already a global health emergency

Article on the Lancet Countdown 2018 report with quotes from Co-convenor Dr Rhys Jones. Read here.

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