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.

Zero Carbon Bill crucial for NZ’s health – but must be faster, fairer and Treaty-based

7 June 2018

Health professionals welcome today’s public consultation launch for the Zero Carbon Bill, saying it is crucial for New Zealanders’ health. However, they warn that the Bill will need to be seriously strengthened for faster, fairer protection of a healthy climate.

The Bill (modelled on the UK’s successful Climate Change Act 2008), proposes a consistent policy framework for NZ to reach net zero climate pollution in the coming decades. This is vital for protecting human health and wellbeing, in the context of global action.

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What's climate change got to do with nursing?

Opinion piece by Rebecca Sinclair in Nursing Review, Issue 3. Read here (PDF).

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Sustainability in healthcare

Article by Rebecca Sinclair in Te Puawai: The Professional Update for Registered Nurses, May 2018. Read here (PDF).

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Wellington City Council Long Term Plan 2018-2028

OraTaiao submission on Wellington City Council Long Term Plan (WCC LTP) 2018-2028. 15 May 2018.

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Greater Wellington Regional Council Long Term Plan 2018-2028

OraTaiao submission on Greater Wellington Regional Council Long Term Plan (GWRC LTP) 2018-2028. 30 April 2018.

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International treaty examination of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership

OraTaiao submission, 18 April 2018

'Climate change is a major threat to human health and ultimately to human survival. It worsens health inequities. It requires urgent action globally and in New Zealand to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions – particularly from fossil fuels.

'The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will create a more challenging legal environment for New Zealand (and other signatory nations) to pass the policy and regulatory changes necessary to achieve this.'

Read the submission here (PDF).

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Briefings to Incoming Ministers Jan 2018

See links below for OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council's briefings from January 2018:


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Climate change, human health and the CPTPP

Editorial on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for TransPacific Partnership by Oliver Hailes, Rhys Jones, David Menkes, Joshua Freeman, Erik Monastery. The New Zealand Medical Journal 9th March 2018, Volume 131 Number 1471. Read here

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

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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Let's Get Welly Moving

OraTaiao submission, 19 January 2018

'OraTaiao supports LGWM’s guiding principles developed from 2017 public consultation. But these principles do not appear to be sufficiently defined, nor prioritised, to actually guide scenario development and evaluation. We hope our submission encourages LGWM’s ‘process principles’ to:

  • be informed and guided by evidence
  • be bold, aspirational and innovative
  • adopt best practice urban design and transport standards
  • seek win-wins where possible.'

Read full submission here.

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Blog from Bonn – our member Emily Rushton is there

The UN Climate Change 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) is underway in Bonn, Germany.

Emily Rushton, a OraTaiao member, is at COP23 and this is her first blog.


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

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

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

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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A Vote for Climate is a Vote for Health

2017 Political Party Scorecard on Climate Change and Health

Health starts not in the doctor’s office or the hospital, but with clean air and water and a safe climate. Well-designed climate action is a huge opportunity to address some of New Zealand’s biggest problems of health and fairness, but continued inaction is the biggest threat to population health of the 21st century.

We asked political Parties about their policies on climate change and interactions with health. Their responses and information on the Parties’ websites were rated by a group of climate change and health experts across seven areas.

The results reveal two things. When comparing parties, the Greens score highest, followed by Labour, and a number of other parties (Opportunities, Mana, Māori) have good policies in some areas. All other parties have policies that are modest or non-existent. The other key feature is that, on the policies available at the time, none of the parties is showing sufficient ambition for a healthy climate future.

Party rankings are detailed below. OraTaiao emphasises that a vote for climate is a vote for health.

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Sustainable Healthcare Forum 24th Nov 2017

Watch recordings and presentations from the Sustainable Healthcare in Aotearoa-NZ Forum, "Human health relies on a healthy planet - health care without harm?", Wellington, 24th Nov 2017:

Introduction and Mihi - Dr Rhys Jones, Dr Alex Macmillan, Dr David Galler Presentation

The Big Picture Context Around Climate Action & Sustainability in the Health Sector - Prof Sir Muir Gray Presentation

Impacts of Climate Change in NZ and the Deep South National Science Challenge - Dr Mike Williams Presentation

Implications for Health Effects of Climate Change in NZ and for Health Sector Adaptation - Dr Alex Macmillan Presentation

Co-benefits of Climate Action & Sustainability in the Health Sector - Dr Hayley Bennett Presentation

Getting Started with DHB Sustainability - Margriet Geesink - Presentation

Reducing the Climate Change Impact of Anaesthesia - Dr Rob Burrell - Presentation

Climate Smart Hospital Redevelopment - Dr Matt Jenks - Presentation

DHB Travel Planning - Valentino Luna-Hernandez - Presentation

Primary Care Climate and Sustainability Action - Dr Rebecca Randerson - Presentation

Waitakere Hospital Woodford Gardens - William Van Ausdal - Powerpoint

Preparing for the Health Impacts of Climate Change - Dr Richard Jaine - Presentation

Sustainability Impacts of Our Daily Clinical Decisions - Dr Forbes McGain - Presentation

Successes in DHB Sustainability Report - Dr Gay Keating - Presentation

Measuring the Success of Climate and Sustainability Action in DHBs - Debbie Wilson - Presentation

Tips for Getting DHB Leadership on Board - Dr David Galler - Presentation

NZ Green Building Council Green Star Performance Tool for Assessing Health Buildings - Sam Archer - Presentation

Energy Efficiency in the Health Sector - Graham Dray - Presentation

Address by Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter

Closing/Whakamutunga - Dr Rhys Jones - Presentation







See Flyer here


SHC programme - word doc

SHC programme - pdf

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District health board successes in environmental sustainability

DHB Successes in Environmental Sustainability. A Report to Community and Public Health Canterbury District Health Board, by Dr Gay Keating.

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Health professionals support legal challenge against government’s climate policy

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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Government Policy Statement on Land Transport 2018/19-2027/28

OraTaiao submission, 31 March 2017

'Climate changes fundamentally threaten human health and wellbeing; yet well-designed climate action can mean greater health and fairness in both the short and longer term. Transport is integral to this. There are close links between transport, climate and health, where eg.

  • active and sustainable modes of transport (such as walking and cycling) positively affect health; 
  • the current reliance on private motor vehicle transport has negative impacts on health through greenhouse gas emissions, road traffic crashes, air and noise pollution and increased sedentary time. 

'This submission relates to the GPS2018 and: acting on climate change, prioritising active transport, prioritising public transport, the opportunity costs of poorly cost-effective roading choices including lost health gains, and the importance of making transport user hierarchies and the NZ Health Strategy integral to GPS2018's Strategic direction and Objectives.'

Read the submission here (PDF).

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Greater Wellington Regional Council Annual Plan 2017/18

OraTaiao submission on Greater Wellington Regional Council Annual Plan 2017/18. 12 April 2017.

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‘Healthy Climate, Healthy People’


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