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.

Emissions Reduction Plan

OraTaiao submission, 24 November 2021

The Government's draft plan to reduce emission over the next 15 years is unambitious, flawed in many areas, and inadequate as a plan addressing the “biggest health crisis of the 21st century". The potential to recoup costs of emissions reducing policies with significant health gains, let alone savings from avoided climate change, must drive responsible and effective emissions planning. Read full submission here.

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No nuclear-free moment but a healthy emissions reduction plan still possible

MEDIA STATEMENT, 18 November 2021

Was NZ-Aotearoa’s appearance at the world’s climate conference COP26 our nuclear-free moment? “Definitely not,” said OraTaiao Co-convenor Dr Dermot Coffey, “but the good news is that the government can vastly improve on its COP26 failings by putting in place an emissions reduction plan that achieves a healthier, more resilient and more equitable Aotearoa.”

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Submit on the government's 15-year Emissions Reduction Plan

Make a submission on the Government’s first Emissions Reduction Plan 

The Government is consulting on its plan to reduce emissions over the 15 next years from transport, energy, waste, f-gases, building, construction, agriculture and forestry. We have prepared the submission guide below to help inform you of major points you may choose to include in your own organisational or individual submission. The closing date for making a submission is Wednesday 24 November 2021.

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Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill 2021

OraTaiao submission, 3 November 2021

OraTaiao commends the aims of this Bill, namely to increase the supply of and demand for zero- and low-emissions vehicles for purchase in New Zealand. However, we advise the Bill be strengthened significantly in some important areas. Read full submission here

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Annual General Meeting will be held on 29 November

The Annual General Meeting of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council will be held on Monday 29 November at 7.30pm via audioconference/videoconference. This is an excellent opportunity to catch up with fellow OraTaiao members and to see what has been happening over this very eventful year. Please join us if you can – we’d love to have as many members attending this meeting as possible. Details of the agenda and how to join the videoconference will follow closer to the date.

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Opinion in The Spinoff, October 2021

Be braver about climate change, New Zealand. Dr George Laking. The Spinoff, 29 October 2021.

Seven health professional organisations groups have written an open letter to Jacinda Ardern ahead of COP26, demanding a huge increase in Aotearoa’s international climate contribution. OraTaiao Exec member Dr George Laking writes, "Human-induced climate change is the number one threat to health this century. Many people are used to thinking of health as cancer and other chronic conditions. But the things that truly decide health are such basic matters as a food supply and political stability, that in turn depend on the environment." Read here

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Newsroom: COP26 - ‘World-leading’ Covid response exposes climate failure

Article about NZ government's weak response to the climate crisis, includes interview with OraTaiao Co-convenor Dr Dermot Coffey. Read here.

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NZ ongoing climate and health failure ahead of COP26

MEDIA STATEMENT, 27 October 2021

Seven health professional organisations (OraTaiao; NZ Medical Association; NZ Nurses Organisation; and the Colleges for Emergency Medicine, of Nurses, Physicians, and Anaesthetists) have written a joint letter to Prime Minister Ardern and the Climate Change Minister ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26, calling for a huge increase in Aotearoa’s international climate contribution, and asking to keep the capacity to limit global warming within a humanly adaptable 1.5 degrees.

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Letter to PM ahead of COP26

Seven health professional organisations (OraTaiao, the College of Nurses Aotearoa, New Zealand Nurses Organisation, New Zealand Medical Association, Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians, and New Zealand Society of Anaesthetists) have written a joint letter to Prime Minister Ardern and the Climate Change Minister ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26, calling for a huge increase in Aotearoa’s international climate contribution, and asking to keep the capacity to limit global warming within a humanly adaptable 1.5 degrees.  

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Proposed speed limit changes in Auckland

OraTaiao submission, 21 October 2021

"We congratulate Auckland Transport for proposing lower speed limits, especially the 30 km/hr limit on streets in suburbs near schools. In car versus pedestrian assaults, when the impact speed is below about 25km/hr, the risk of death is 5 – 10% but as the impact speed increases beyond 30 km/hr, the risk of death increases exponentially." Read full submission here.

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Reforming industrial allocation in the New Zealand Emissions Trading scheme

OraTaiao submission, 15 September 2021

"The Emissions Trading Scheme is important for public health.... The current free allocation of units represents a subsidy by the Government of climate pollution by industry and is not consistent with the rapid decarbonization of industry that is required to address the climate crisis and meet the ambitions of net zero emissions in Aotearoa/New Zealand by 2050."

Read full submission here.

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Stuff: Surgical waste requires culture shift for climate goals

Article about reducing the carbon footprint of surgery in Aotearoa, NZ, with comments from OraTaiao Co-convenor, Dr Dermot Coffey. Read here.

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Consultation on approach to COP26

OraTaiao submission, 30 August 2021

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s background document on Aotearoa’s approach to the COP26 negotiations is disappointing - human health and wellbeing are not mentioned once in the entire document. We strongly recommend that our response properly take account of the health risks from climate change, that the national and international health benefits from climate action be appropriately addressed in our approach, and human health and wellbeing be the major principles that guide our negotiations."

Read full submission here.

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Sustainable healthcare conference 2021 posters

The presentations and posters from the "2021 Sustainable Healthcare and Climate Health Conference Aotearoa" are now available here.  

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Submission on the Exposure Draft of the Natural and Built Environments Bill

OraTaiao submission, 4 August 2021

OraTaiao recognise and agree that the Resource Management Act (RMA) is in urgent need of renewal, modification and updating. Our natural and built environment is a significant factor in the development of non-communicable diseases in Aotearoa, and with these responsible for 89% of all deaths in Aotearoa and for an estimated 7,000 premature deaths of New Zealanders between the ages of 30 and 70 in 2012[1]. It similarly influences our climate change emissions via transport choices, energy use and farming. Planning for climate change adaptation is now inevitable, and this will be an essential component of all three Acts which will replace the RMA, not just the Climate Adaptation Act.

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Increasing worries around drinking water nitrate levels and cancer risks, says OraTaiao


OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council strongly supports the recent call by Forest & Bird, Greenpeace, the Environmental Defence Society, and Choose Clean Water urging Government to limit freshwater nitrate levels to less than 1mg/L.

"This is a perfect example of where public health, ecological, and climate concerns overlap," says Dermot Coffey, Co-convenor of OraTaiao, "and where setting and achieving a safe limit on nitrate levels will benefit all three simultaneously."

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New Zealand ranked zero in damning global climate health scorecard


Global Climate Health Alliance rating of NZ NDC commitment

“New Zealand’s ranking of zero points on the Global Climate and Health Alliance health scorecard for climate commitments sounds the siren for urgent action,” says Dr Dermot Coffey, Co-convenor of OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council. The GCHA today publicly released the climate health scorecard for the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of 66 countries with NZ sharing bottom place with just 3 others.  

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Hīkina te Kohupara / Pathways to Net Zero by 2050

OraTaiao submission, 24 June 2021

The health and wellbeing co-benefits of climate change mitigation strategies that increase active and public transport are well documented. These co-benefits need to be elevated within Hīkina te Kohupara to become a central focus of the transport system transformation.

Read full submission here

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OraTaiao calls for healthier government response to climate advice

Christchurch, 9 June 2021 -- Responding to today’s release of the Climate Change Commission’s advice to the government on New Zealand’s climate ambitions, OraTaiao called on Minister for Climate Change Hon. James Shaw to safeguard the health of Aotearoa and step up to our fair share when the world meets in Glasgow this November to keep human-adaptable 1.5 degrees warming within reach.

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OraTaiao appeals to Government: plate up for climate change and health

Since Government buys what thousands of us eat daily in New Zealand, ‘buying healthy’ has long been an immediately available yet overlooked step towards addressing climate and health-induced inequities according to OraTaiao: New Zealand Climate and Health Council and they are challenging Government to act now to remedy this.  
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‘Healthy Climate, Healthy People’


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