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.


Make our streets better for people!

Submission guide for the Accessible Streets package of rule changes

There are significant co-benefits for health, climate and equitable access from active transport (biking, walking, wheelchair use, scooting, skating). The Government is seeking public feedback on its “accessible streets” package of rules designed to encourage walking, biking, and support liveable and vibrant towns and cities. However, many of the proposed changes will erode the rights of pedestrians and people with disabilities on the footpath while having minimal impact on the convenience of people in cars. It is time the government addressed providing safe space for cyclists and other “third speed” transport like e-scooters, while protecting the rights and safety of footpath users. This can be achieved by creating safe space for “third speed” transport by reducing vehicle speed limits on roads, bike friendly traffic calming infrastructure and high quality cycle path infrastructure. Deadline for submissions is 5pm Wednesday 20 May.

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Nelson City Annual Plan Consultation

OraTaiao submission, 6 May 2020

The food system is a major contributor to ill health and many of the environmental challenges facing us nationally and globally. In New Zealand, food production contributes about half of the country’s total climate pollution. Both central and local government have significant parts to play in addressing the urgent transformation that is now needed in the way we produce and consume food. Cities are increasingly recognising this around the world.

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Q&A in Stuff, 6 May 2020

Climate Explained: How the climate impact of beef compares with plant-based alternatives.

Dr Alexandra Macmillan and Jono Drew answer questions on how food choices make a difference to the climate impact of our diet. Read here.

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Stuff: Budget 2020 spending on climate could improve public health resilience, experts say

Article on Budget 2020 and letter from health professionals asking for focus on climate change. Article includes comments from OraTaiao Co-convenor, Dr Alex Macmillan, "the Government can't let us go back to business as usual, because that business as usual was both unhealthy and unfair." Read here.

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Budget 2020 must tackle climate crisis say health organisations

MEDIA RELEASE, 3 May 2020

Leading NZ health professional organisations have written to the Government asking them to prioritise Budget 2020 funding for a just transition to a climate-resilient, sustainable and low-emissions economy.

The letter, led by OraTaiao: NZ Climate & Health Council, was sent to the Minister and Associate Ministers of Finance on Sunday 3 May, and urges the Government to heed health advice that has for many years been warning of the serious health threat posed by the climate crisis.

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Letter to Finance Ministers May 2020

Fifteen health professional organisations wrote to Hon Grant Robertson (Minister of Finance), Hon James Shaw (Associate Minister of Finance), and Hon Shane Jones (Associate Minister of Finance) urging prioritisation of funding for a just transition to a climate-resilient, sustainable and low-emissions economy in the 2020 Budget.

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Government spend now must do ‘triple duty’ for people, planet and prosperity

MEDIA STATEMENT15 April 2020

Health professionals are calling for the government’s economic stimulus to do triple duty for people, planet and prosperity.

“We can’t return to business as usual. We need a new framework to guide public investment. As the Government invests to get the economy going after lockdown we must ensure this public money is well spent and has a long term benefit for people, planet and prosperity,” said Dr. Alex Macmillan, Co-convenor, OraTaiao: NZ Climate & Health Council.

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Message on COVID-19

Those of us at OraTaiao would like to express our solidarity with you all at this uncertain and challenging time, and we’d like to acknowledge our members working with patients and on the COVID-19 response. Thank you for everything you are doing!

In the meantime, at OraTaiao we will be continuing essential climate change work, and we are calling for pandemic responses that reduce inequities and centre te Tiriti, because pandemic justice is crucial to climate justice. Please take care of yourselves and others and we’ll keep you posted with updates.

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Stuff.co.nz: We need to talk about Vegans: should New Zealand embrace a meatless future?

Article on the merits of a plant-based diet, and changing consumer behaviour, with comments from OraTaiao Co-convenor Dr Alexandra Macmillan. Read here.

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Call for abstracts | Karanga mō ngā Tuhinga Whakarāpopoto

COVID-19: The Sustainable Healthcare and Climate Health Conference Aotearoa 2020 has been postponed and will now be held in mid-June 2021. There may be a series of webinars run later in 2020. For further information sign up to the mailing list at [email protected] with your contact details and SHCH in the subject line.

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Phasing out coal in schools and hospitals a win-win for health and the climate

MEDIA STATEMENT, 30 January 2020

The Government’s announcement that it is committed to prioritising ending coal-burning for schools and hospitals is welcomed by health workers who have long been calling for such a move.

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Otago Daily Times: Study finds plant-based diet could save climate

Article on research showing the emissions reductions, health benefits, and health cost savings which could be achieved from NZ moving to a plant-based diet, with comments from study author and OraTaiao member Jono Drew and OraTaiao Co-convenor Dr Alexandra Macmillan. "Fortunately, foods that are health-promoting tend also to be those that are climate friendly." Read here.

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Newshub: Schools' climate change resource right about meat - study

Interview with OraTaiao Co-convenor Dr Alexandra Macmillan on the impact of diet and food production on greenhouse gas emissions. Watch/read here.

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Stuff.co.nz: Plant-based diets a 'win-win' for health, reducing greenhouse gas emissions - study

Article on the emissions reductions, health benefits, and health cost savings which could be achieved from NZ moving to a plant-based diet, with comments from OraTaiao Co-convenor Dr Alexandra Macmillan. Read here.

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NZ Herald: Plant-based diet: The case to help slash emissions and save billions

Article on the the emissions reductions, health benefits, and health cost savings which could be achieved from NZ moving to a plant-based diet, with comments from study author and OraTaiao member, Jono Drew and OraTaiao Co-convenor, Dr Alexandra Macmillan. Read here.

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Healthy and Climate-Friendly Eating Patterns in the New Zealand Context

Article by Jono Drew, Dr Alexandra Macmillan and Anja Mizdrak. Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol 128, No 1, 22 January 2020. Read here (PDF).

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Emissions Trading Reform

OraTaiao submission, 17 January 2020

It is encouraging to see a cap on emissions units, a sinking lid mechanism and the phasing out of industrial allocation of free units incorporated into the draft Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill.

"We remain concerned however about the ongoing delay in integration of agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme, the slow phase down of free units to industry and the lack of a mechanism to recycle revenue from the sale of New Zealand Units to support a low carbon transition for those most likely to be impacted by the changes - low income, Māori and Pacific households."

Read full submission here (PDF). This submission is endorsed by the New Zealand Medical Association, Tōpūtanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa / New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO), the Public Health Association of New Zealand, and the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine.

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Newly appointed climate change commission a crucial step with major expertise gap

MEDIA STATEMENT, 18 December 2019

The newly appointed climate change commission is an important step towards New Zealand being able to put the necessary policies in place to protect our health and wellbeing from climate change, but it lacks the full expertise to bring about the transformative change that New Zealand needs to meet its climate change commitments to ensure our safety and well-being into the future, according to Dr Alexandra Macmillan, Co-convenor, OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council.

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GP Pulse: An advocate for climate change action

Interview with new OraTaiao executive board member and General Practitioner, Dr Dermot Coffey. See here (PDF).

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Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill

OraTaiao submission, 11 December 2019

"The significance of climate disruption for the mental health and well-being of those alive today and for future generations simply cannot be ignored. A focus on the climate crisis thus needs to be highlighted in legislation defining the Commission’s role."

Read full submission here.

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