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. 

The Environment Select Committee is looking for unique submissions and will discount multiple identical submissions, therefore we have provided guidance rather than a template, and some useful references.

1.     Support the intent of the bill but ask for its purpose to be clearer and stronger

Support the intent to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to set up the Climate Change Commission - an independent body that would advise and support the government to reach the targets.

2.     Put health at the heart of the bill

Climate change poses a serious threat to health, wellbeing, and health equity and its impacts are not distributed equally, with Māori, Pacific, and low-income groups at greater risk of experiencing poor health outcomes due to climate change.

Ask the government to:

Amend the bill to include specific references to health, wellbeing, and health equity in the purpose statement (s3) and in reference to the various functions, duties, and powers of the Climate Change Commission and Minister, and requirements to complete assessments and plans: 5H(1)(d)(i); 5L(d); 5ZD(3); 5ZM(1)(a); 5ZQ(4)

Fully recognise and account for the benefits, costs and risks - including to health and health equity - associated with both mitigation and adaptation efforts within the bill, by clarifying the definitions of “impacts” and “distributional effects”: S4 (Interpretation)

Mandate the inclusion of a commissioner(s) with expertise in health and climate change: 5H(1)(d)(i)

Please use your organisational or individual experience and knowledge to tell specific stories and provide examples about climate change impacts on health, and win-wins/health savings of taking well-designed action.

3.      Stronger emissions targets

The bill’s emissions targets need to be in line with the IPCC 1.5 degrees report. OraTaiao has consistently argued for an early target of net zero emissions across all greenhouse gases by 2040. The proposed bill has instead opted to pursue a tardy target date (2050), and separate targets for long-and short-lived gases. In light of this decision, we recommend a stronger target for biogenic methane. This provides an opportunity to lower the burden of a number of diseases (e.g. cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and diabetes) by reducing population-level intake of red and processed meat. It would also drive improvements in fresh and drinking water quality, while future-proofing our food production system to climate and economic shocks through diversification.

Ask the government to:

Change the net zero emissions target for greenhouse gases other than biogenic methane to 2040

Set stronger and less risky biogenic methane reduction targets, in line with IPCC scenarios that take early and concerted climate action which do not rely heavily on technologies that are as yet unproven:

24-48% by 2030 (relative to 2010), and

33-69% by 2050 (relative to 2010)

Give your own regional examples of how you see a shift away from dairy intensification into sustainable plant-based food production benefiting health and equity.

4.      Improve reference to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and greater justice for Māori

While the bill currently emphasises the potential harm to Māori of climate change and climate action (3A(ad)), it also needs to articulate the benefits of action while upholding Māori tino rangatiratanga over taonga. It also needs to identify opportunities for Māori leadership through the incorporation of Mātauranga Māori into innovation and successful climate change mitigation and adaptation. From a wellbeing perspective, we draw on the principles from the Māori translation of Te Tiriti o Waitangi to make specific recommendations that would strengthen the bill in this direction.

Ask the government to:

List the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (We suggest using the STIR document interpretation: Whanaungatanga, Kāwanatanga, Tino Rangatiratanga, Ōritetanga, Wairuatanga) as foundational in the Explanatory note and operationalise them throughout the remainder of the bill: e.g. 5ZD; 5Z

If you can, suggest specific ways of operationalising these principles in specific parts of the bill.

Ensure the Climate Change Commission reflects a Te Tiriti-based partnership in its membership and standing advisory bodies. This must include permanent Maori representatives with expertise in hauora Māori, health equity and decolonisation: 5H(1)(d)(i)

5.      Make the bill enforceable

Currently the bill is weak in its ability to be enforced, allowing the government and businesses to get away with not meeting the targets. It must be possible to hold the government and industries accountable for not taking required actions towards the targets.

Ask the government to:

Establish duties relevant to more organisations, specifically those companies in the private sector that contribute significantly to emissions: 5ZV

Set out more explicitly the roles and responsibilities of relevant Ministers and government agencies, in addition to those of the Climate Change Commission - see for example S24 of the Resource Management Act: 5ZJ; 5ZK

Require government ministers and public leaders to consider emissions budgets in the execution of their duties.

Allow for decision-making by government ministers and public leaders, as well as emissions reduction outcomes, to be subject to judicial review: 5ZJ; 5ZK


How to make your submission

Make your own unique submission and enter it here, either directly into the online form, or upload a prepared document. Join us in making an oral submission to the Select Committee.

The closing date for written submissions is Tuesday, 16 July 2019.


Useful references

Bennett H, Jones R, Keating G, Woodward A, Hales S, et al. Health and equity impacts of climate change in Aotearoa-New Zealand, and health gains from climate action. The New Zealand Medical Journal (Online). 2014;127(1406):16-31.

Berghan, G., Came, H., Coupe, N., Doole, C., Fay, J., McCreanor, T., & Simpson, T. (2017). Tiriti-based health promotion practice. Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand: STIR: Stop Institutional Racism. Accessed from:­tice-health-promotion

Jones R. Climate change and Indigenous Health Promotion. Global Health Promotion. 2019 2019/04/01;26(3_suppl):73-81.

Jones RG, Bennett H, Keating G, Blaiklock A. Climate change and the right to health for Māori  in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Health and Human Rights Journal. 2014;16(1):54-68.

IPCC, 2018: Summary for Policymakers. In: Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

Royal Society Te Apārangi. Human Health Impacts of Climate Change for New Zealand. Wellington, New Zealand: 2017.

Watts N, Adger WN, Agnolucci P, Blackstock J, Byass P, et al. Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health. The Lancet. 2015.

Willett W, Rockström J, Loken B, Springmann M, Lang T, et al. Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The Lancet. 2019;393(10170):447-92.


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