• "Global cooperation to secure the 1.5°C limit" – Submission on NZ’s Approach to International Climate Change Negotiations 2023

    Ahead of the COP28 international climate change negotiations which are due to be held in Dubai at the end of the year, OraTaiao has responded to a consultation request from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Manatū Aorere (MFAT).

    OraTaiao believes that New Zealand's approach to COP28 must recognise it as a tool for global cooperation to secure the humanly adaptable limit of 1.5°C of global warming, not a forum for competitive trade negotiations. And before using international platforms to promote ourselves as climate leaders – when there is not credible substance to this claim across all sectors and gases – we must first be the change we want to see globally. 

    OraTaiao has therefore provided MFAT with comprehensive advice. Making human health a key focus of urgent climate action can guide their approach on a wide range of questions in Dubai – including, but not limited to: 

    • Siding with the Global South (including the Alliance of Small Island States)

    • Taking direction from hapū and iwi, ensuring that Māori are fully resourced to participate at COP28 in the ways that they determine.

    • Supporting diplomacy and cooperation, instead of continuing down the path of increasing destructive militarisation

    • Committing to much faster reductions in our own agricultural emissions

    OraTaiao's submission was produced by lead author Liz Springford, with the support of Dr James Hamill, Summer Wright, Dr Dermot Coffey, Dr Scott Metcalfe and our partners in the New Zealand Climate Action Network. It is available here

  • "Don't undermine the aims of the ETS" – Submission on the Climate Change Response (Late Payment Penalties and Industrial Allocation) Amendment Bill

    The World Health Organisation describes climate change as the biggest risk to population health and healthcare systems of the 21st century, and our response to climate change offers an unmissable opportunity to improve population health, close equity gaps within society and give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 

    The approach of increasing free credits contained in this Amendment Bill will undermine the most basic aims of the ETS and make our national and international targets more difficult to meet. OraTaiao recommends amending the Bill to signal to industry that essential change cannot be left until the last minute and that a sustainable long-term plan to transition off fossil fuels is needed immediately.

    Our submission, prepared by OraTaiao Co-convenor Dr Dermot Coffey, is available here

  • "Benefitting health & climate" – Submission on proposed Wellington street changes

    OraTaiao recognises the strong link between improving climate health and population health through policy and infrastructure that supports and facilitates active transportation across New Zealand.

    We strongly support safer streets, not as simple thoroughfares or places to store private vehicles, but as a part of living, healthy communities. We therefore support the plans outlined by Wellington City Council for safer cycleways, speed changes and changes to on-street parking.

    The proposed changes to the Thorndon Connections area and the Kilbirnie Connections area will benefit not only the health and safety of people who cycle and walk in the area but will contribute to climate adaptation which benefits all.

    Prepared by OraTaiao representative Tess Luff, our submission can be read here.

  • Feedback on Indicative Strategic Priorities for the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport in 2024

    OraTaiao thanks Te Manatū Waka Ministry of Transport for the opportunity to comment on the Indicative Strategic Priorities for the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport in 2024. Our brief feedback, prepared by OraTaiao Co-Convenor Dr Dermot Coffey, makes three recommendations to give GPS 2024 a stronger focus on a more rapid mode-shift to active transport and non-polluting forms of transport. 

    Click on the heading to see our feedback below. 

  • "A stronger focus on wellbeing" – Feedback on the draft report: Review into the future for local government

    OraTaiao strongly endorses a statement in the Future of Local Government draft report, He mata whāriki, he matawhānui. “Fundamentally, we consider at the core of a future for local government is a stronger focus on wellbeing.”

    To help mitigate climate change and improve peoples’ health, our submission says that local government should ensure:

    • Fertile land around urban areas will be used for local, sustainable and resilient food production
    • Everyone can live in a warm, dry, healthy home
    • Councils and community groups work together to plant millions of trees in urban and regional spaces
    • Aotearoa NZ will be a country where most people travel by active and public transport
    • The soundscape of towns and cities gives a sense of wellbeing and belonging
    • Young peoples’ voices on the environmental crises are heard by lowering the voting age to 16 

    Prepared by OraTaiao representative Dr James Hamill, our full submission can be read here

  • Submission on the Natural and Built Environment & Spatial Planning Bills

    Two pieces of legislation to repeal and replace the ageing Resource Management Act 1991 are now before Parliament’s Environment Committee. Unfortunately, the Natural and Built Environments and Spatial Planning Bills continue a perspective which sees nature as separate from humans and land, water, air and biodiversity as “resources” to be exploited. They fail to effect Te Tiriti o Waitangi and are unclear about how they support climate action. 

    OraTaiao supports genuinely embedding an integrated Māori view of the environment as a key policy intent of the bills, not just in order to uphold te Tiriti obligations, but because a genuine Te Oranga o te Taiao approach reflects the core concept that the health of ecosystems is integral to the health and wellbeing of people and communities. 

    Prepared by representative members of OraTaiao, including Co-Convenors Summer Wright and Dr Dermot Coffey, our submission is focused on optimising the benefits to human and planetary wellbeing by protecting and restoring the natural environment, by effecting Te Tiriti o Waitangi and grounding reforms in goals for intergenerational and equitable health outcomes. Read our full submission here. 

  • "Now is the moment for free fares" – Oral submission to the Petitions Committee

    OraTaiao has joined the Free Fares Coalition – the Aotearoa Collective for Public Transport Equity. In support of their campaign to make public transport free for all under-25s, tertiary students, Community Services Card holders, and Total Mobility Card holders and their support people, OraTaiao spokesperson and Occupational Therapist Romelli Rodriguez-Jolly was able to give a one minute oral submission to Parliament's Petitions Committee. Click on the title of this article for a transcript of the submission. 

  • Submission on pricing agricultural emissions

    OraTaiao is relieved to finally see an end to the decades of delay in pricing agricultural climate pollution. But efforts to reduce agricultural emissions should be guided by a vision of the future we want for Aotearoa, centred around human and planetary health. Viewed in this light, the scale of change needed this decade demands modifications to the farm-level levy system proposed by the Government. 

    Our submission is focused on optimising the benefits and minimising the damage to health, wellbeing and equity from agricultural production. Properly designed, a pricing system for agricultural emissions can drive a transition to regenerative farming and re-orient production away from high volume exports to sustainable and quality food production that will nourish local populations.

    Read the full submission here

  • "Exempt work-supplied bikes from Fringe Benefit Tax" – Submission to Parliament's Finance and Expenditure Committee

    "Extensive and conclusive evidence now exists to show the health effects of our car-dominated transport system, including air pollution, enforced physical inactivity, trauma, sound pollution and neighbourhood severance. Yet fossil fuel powered work-related vehicles and Small Business Car Parking are exempted from Fringe Benefit Tax, while bikes, e-bikes and public transport are not. Barrier-reducing policies supporting work-related bicycle purchase exist in many European countries, and while this is only one component of a range of different measures promoting active transport including infrastructure development and safety improvements, it is an obvious area for improvement in Aotearoa."

    Read OraTaiao's submission on the Taxation (Annual Rates for 2022-23, Platform Economy, and Remedial Matters) Bill (No 2) here

  • Submission on the future of inter-regional passenger rail

    OraTaiao is pleased to see Parliament’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee investigating passenger rail in Aotearoa NZ. We support the focus in the inquiry terms of reference.

    Improving non-motorised transport options will contribute to greater social equity and economic opportunities for people who may not have access to a car. A rail network across the country that connects to other forms of public and active transport will enhance access to society for people living with disabilities. Research shows that public transport is much safer than travel by private vehicle. Climate action through low-emissions transport like rail would make great inroads to addressing the second largest source of climate pollution in Aotearoa. 

    The full submission, prepared by Co-convenors Summer Wright and Dr Dermot Coffey along with Dr Matt Jenks and Dr James Hamill from the OraTaiao leadership, is available here