Media Releases


NZ Government commitment to CPTPP without independent assessment of health and climate change impacts would be grossly negligent

MEDIA RELEASE
26 January 2018

Health professionals remain concerned that the so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will obstruct action to address major 21stcentury health threats such as climate change.

Without decisive action, the impacts of climate change on health in the coming decades will be serious and far-reaching. These impacts have been described clearly in a recent report published by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Urgent action is therefore needed to reduce future impacts on health, and to take advantage of the enormous opportunities to improve New Zealanders’ health right here and now. This includes rapidly transitioning our economies to renewable energy.

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Major international report describes climate change as a looming public health emergency

MEDIA RELEASE
31 October 2017

New research shows that climate change is already damaging the health of millions of people and is a looming global health emergency. These are the conclusions of a joint reportfrom The Lancet Countdown, an international research collaboration that provides a global overview of the relationship between public health and climate change.

Dr Rhys Jones, Co-convenor of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council, says the report should prompt widespread, urgent action. “It shows that the effects of climate change on human health are undeniable and potentially irreversible.”

New Zealand is not immune to the threats posed by climate change, as highlighted in a recent Royal Society of New Zealand report, Human Health Impacts of Climate Change for New Zealand.

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Healthy climate is an essential prescription for New Zealand

MEDIA RELEASE
26 October 2017

Health professionals say a report released today by the Royal Society of New Zealand should be a wake-up call about the wide-ranging health impacts of climate change.

The report, Human Health Impacts of Climate Change for New Zealand, brings together an extensive body of evidence, highlighting the profound implications of climate change for health and quality of life.

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Health professionals welcome MAS's move to divest from fossil fuels

MEDIA RELEASE
20 September 2017

Health professionals are welcoming the recent move by Medical Assurance Society (MAS) to divest from fossil fuels, saying it shows strong leadership for a healthy climate future.

The society has announced that, from September 14, their KiwiSaver and Retirement Savings Plans will no longer invest in fossil fuels, as well as armaments and tobacco. This policy will also apply to MAS reserves, the money MAS holds to invest for the future and to pay insurance claims.

According to MAS, this represents more than $1.4 billion of investment funds, which “will be playing their part for global health and wellbeing.”

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Health professionals support legal challenge against government’s climate policy

MEDIA RELEASE
27 June 2017

New Zealanders’ health is at stake in a court case challenging the government over its failure to tackle climate change. Law student Sarah Thomson is taking on the Minister for Climate Change Issues, arguing that New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target is illegal.

As part of the global Paris Climate Agreement, our government chose a weak target of reducing climate-damaging emissions by 11% (below 1990 levels) by 2030. It plans to achieve this mostly by paying other countries to take action.

Ms Thomson’s case argues that the government’s analysis in setting this target was illogically one-sided.  Costs of emissions-reduction action were counted, but the wider gains from climate action and the very real costs of climate changes were ignored. 

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Health professionals welcome today’s Zero Carbon Act launch

MEDIA RELEASE
10 April 2017

Health professionals congratulate Generation Zero on today’s Zero Carbon Act campaign launch.  

The Act is designed to reduce New Zealand’s long-lived greenhouse gas emissions to net zero within a generation. This means by 2050 our dangerous climate pollution will have been reduced enough to be completely absorbed by increased forests.

The Zero Carbon Act – modelled on the UK’s successful Climate Change Act passed by a conservative-led government in 2008 – will bind future governments to genuine action that protects New Zealand.

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Māori health leader speaks about climate change at COP22

MEDIA RELEASE
17 November 2016

Māori health leader speaks about climate change and the right to health at COP22

World leaders are meeting in Marrakesh to bring to life the promises made to limit climate change in the Paris Agreement. Earlier this week Rhys Jones, a Māori doctor and co-convenor of OraTaiao: The NZ Climate & Health Council, called for climate action that protects human rights, especially indigenous rights, children’s rights and the right to health.

Dr Jones is in Morocco at COP22 participating in an event hosted by the World Health Organization and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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Hospitals should not be smoking a giant cigarette

MEDIA RELEASE
12 November 2016

Despite New Zealand being a signatory to the new Paris climate agreement, the Ministry of Health is considering the use of coal in Christchurch Hospital’s boiler. OraTaiao, the New Zealand Climate and Health Council and the New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA) say to do so would be a mistake for the climate and for health. Although coal burning may achieve short-term financial savings, it is a false economy. Coal burning is inconsistent with the Ministry’s legislated responsibility to protect health. 

OraTaiao and the NZMSA are jointly urging the Ministry to support Christchurch Hospital’s switch to lower emission wood waste rather than coal.

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Staying cool and healthy in rising heat

MEDIA RELEASE
29 January 2017

“Take care as the heat rises” advises Dr Alex Macmillan,co-convenor of OraTaiao, The NZ Climate and Health Council, “especially if you’re elderly, pregnant, or already have a medical condition. Babies and children are also more at risk with rising heat, while healthy adults who work outdoors are also especially vulnerable.”

“If there are people in your care, make sure they can keep cool enough. This includes at work, school, early childhood centres, rest homes, prisons, sporting and cultural events,” says Dr Macmillan.

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UN experts urge New Zealand to protect children’s rights from climate change

MEDIA RELEASE
14 October 2016

This week is World Climate Week. In the same United Nations Committee report damning New Zealand’s inaction on child poverty, the committee has also expressed its concern about the harmful impact of climate change on New Zealand children, especially Māori and Pacific children and children living in low-income families. 

OraTaiao, the New Zealand Climate and Health Council, welcomes the report from the UN experts. Dr Rhys Jones, Co-Convenor of OraTaiao, says the UN recommendations are sensible and important.

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