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.


Briefing to the Incoming Minister of Health 2014

Climate change is among the most serious threats to health faced by New Zealand, but it also represents an unprecedented opportunity to improve health, create a fairer society,and reduce costs for the health sector.

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Health and equity impacts of climate change in Aotearoa-New Zealand, and health gains from climate action

Hayley Bennett, Rhys Jones, Gay Keating, Alistair Woodward, Simon Hales, Scott Metcalfe paper in the New Zealand Medical Journal, Nov 2014. Read here.

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Urgent action on climate change is a health win-win

New Zealand can make huge gains for health, now and in the future, by committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A Special Article on climate change and health is published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal. The article clearly demonstrates that rather than being an environmental issue, climate change is fundamentally an issue about people’s survival and their health and wellbeing.

As well as describing risks to the health of New Zealanders from climate change, the paper also highlights opportunities for health and fairness.

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OpEd NZ Herald Oct 2014

Trade deal needs urgent check up. Dr Joshua Freeman. NZ Herald 31 Oct 2014.

Foreign investors would be given a powerful new lever to delay sound new health regulations for their own commercial interests.

More here.

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Health professionals say TPPA risks climate and health protection

OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council warns that negotiations over the TransPacific
Partnership Agreement (TPPA) threaten New Zealand’s ability to protect our climate and
health.

The Council’s ongoing concerns are voiced in an article in NZ Doctor online today, together with 9
other health professional groups representing doctors, nurses, midwives, medical students,
academics and health promoters.

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Climate Change and Human Health Discussion Paper

Bennett, Metcalfe, Jones. Human health discussion paper for climate change series by Engineers for Social Responsibility and the Sustainable Energy Forum...."Without rapid global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (particularly from fossil fuels), the world will breach its carbon budget and may experience high levels of warming (4-6oC by 2100) that render many populated areas of the world unable to support human health. However, if well-planned action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were undertaken globally and in New Zealand, there could be positive impacts not only for limiting climate change, but also for health".

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Experts highlight stark climate-health risks at NZ population health congress

Climate change and health discussions have featured strongly on day three of the NZ Population Health Congress in Auckland.

Professor Kirk Smith, a lead author on the health chapter in the fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (AR5), spoke in a plenary session, stressing our responsibility to protect the babies born today from the climate-health impacts that will result from our current business-as usual greenhouse gas (GHG) trajectory.

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Health board wins award for climate and environmental action

The Waitemata District Health Board has won an award for ‘Leadership in Environmental Sustainability by a Health Sector Organisation’ at this week’s Population Health Congress in Auckland.

The award, sponsored by OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council, recognises climate change as a serious and urgent health issue, and commends Waitemata District Health Board for its efforts to improve environmental sustainability and to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint.

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New Zealand health professional organisations’ joint call for action on climate change and health

Macmillan, Jones, Bennett editorial in the New Zealand Medical Journal, Sept 2014. Read here.

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NZ ‘call to action’ highlights climate change as mainstream health issue

A joint Call to Action on Climate Change and Health for the incoming government by ten New Zealand health organisations was formally released today in the New Zealand Medical Journal, following a week of health and civil society action at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York.

The summit featured a strong contingent of health leaders, including the US Surgeon General, Editor-in-Chief of the Lancet medical journal, and the World Health Organization, as well as being attended by many heads of state.

 

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‘Call to action on climate change and health’ from health organisations

Ten New Zealand health organisations have released a joint ‘Call to Action on Climate Change and Health’ today.

The ten organisations, including national professional bodies for doctors, nurses, midwives and medical students, say they recognise climate change as an increasingly serious and urgent threat to health and fairness in New Zealand and worldwide. In contrast, they point to specific policy responses that provide exciting opportunities to improve health and create a fairer society.

 

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World Health Organization holds groundbreaking health and climate conference

The World Health Organization (WHO) is holding its first conference on climate change and health at its headquarters in Geneva this week, with New Zealand health experts in attendance.

The conference has support from world leaders including Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, head of the World Bank, and Prince Charles. Conference sessions are being live streamed on the internet to allow health professionals all over the world to participate.

Since 2008 WHO has shown leadership in raising awareness of the health threats posed by climate change. This conference aims to help health communities to protect health in the face of climate change, and to take advantage of the health benefits associated with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

 

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“Will your party hand over our right to make laws to the US?” ask doctors

Doctors are calling on all political parties to immediately declare their position on the re-drafting of New Zealand’s laws that protect health under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Medical professionals concerned about the health risks from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, today reacted with shock at the revelations that New Zealand laws could be effectively re-written without the public’s knowledge by the United States.

 

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Submission to the Ministry of Transport on the Draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport

OraTaiao submission states: 'there is great potential for easy win-wins for the economy, addressing climate change and improving the livelihoods of New Zealanders. However, this would involve a significant shift in thinking from what is expressed in the draft GPS, as well as a much more profound re-balancing of the investment portfolio towards public and active transport'.

Read full submission here.

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No more hesitation, we need climate legislation

Health professionals strongly support Generation Zero’s ‘Big Ask’ for cross-party legislative action on climate.

“We must work together now to respond to our changing climate,” says Dr Alex Macmillan, acting co-convenor of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council. “Enshrining into legislation ambitious targets and how we plan to get there is a powerful way of addressing climate change.”

 

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Climate-damaging West Coast coal expansion threatens health

Health professionals concerned about climate change are alarmed by Bathurst Resources Limited’s announcement this week that site clearance for coal mining on the Denniston Plateau is to start on 1 July.

“Coal is one of the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels”, says Dr Rhys Jones from OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council. “This means that it poses serious risks to health through its contribution to climate change.”

 

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International Confederation of Midwives Position Statement on Climate Change

OraTaiao midwife member Lorna Davies led the development of this international position statement.

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Climate change and the right to health for Māori in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Jones et al paper in the Harvard Health and Human Rights Journal, June 2014. Read here.

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Prevention of fracking harms would be shackled by trade deal

A new report concludes that fracking practices in NZ pose risks to health and the environment. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has recommended that regulations be overhauled and tightened to protect New Zealanders from harm. But the Government’s secret trade negotiations would allow foreign fossil fuel companies to sue us if we do so. Again, this
report demonstrates how the TPPA will undermine our sovereignty in addressing our most important public health issues like climate change.

 

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Midwives Call for Urgent Climate Action

The New Zealand College of Midwives has successfully called for urgent climate action, with a ground-breaking position statement on climate change accepted today by the International Confederation of Midwives meeting in Prague.

The Confederation, representing more than 300,000 midwives from 102 nations, recognises the serious consequences of our changing climate for women, babies and their families, as well as midwives themselves.

 

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