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.  

OraTaiao Co-Convenor, Dr Dermot Coffey, announced today, the organisation is sending a food procurement policy to Government asking that they put their money where our mouths are.

“To meet their obligation to support the development of a carbon-neutral public sector, Government needs to look at food procurement through a climate lens as well as the more usual financial lens,” Dr Coffey said.

“The binding, all-of-government food procurement policy OraTaiao proposes has a dual climate / health benefit. It will assist centrally-funded institutions, such as hospitals, prisons, and schools, in meeting their carbon-neutrality goals.

Dr Coffey continued, “In addition, by committing to purchasing and providing only sustainable, healthy kai that is not climate-intensive, and adopting new practices such as supporting local growers and reducing the transport emissions connected to food miles, the proposed policy will deliver financial efficiencies while also contributing to building the longer-term resilience critically needed in our nation’s food systems.  

“The true annual costs of food procurement across the nation, must always factor in the ongoing price that current policies inflict upon the climate, as well as upon our physical health in the form of cardiac disease and diabetes – with Māori bearing the greatest burden on all fronts.

He concluded, “In a few days, Aotearoa will be busy discussing the final advice Climate Change Commission present. But OraTaiao, with more than 700 individuals and organisations as supporters, unequivocally states: the equity-driven, sustainable food procurement policy we propose is simply the right thing to do today; it’s ripe, low hanging fruit.

“We are counting on Government to step up and pick it.”



Read the proposed Sustainable Food Procurement Policy

Media spokesperson Dr Dermot Coffey 021 0267 5452

Dr Dermot Coffey ([email protected]) is a General Practitioner in Christchurch, and Co-Convenor at OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council.

OraTaiao: New Zealand Climate and Health Council comprises healthcare professionals in Aotearoa/New Zealand calling for urgent and fair climate action - with real health gains now and for our future.


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