Updated 24 January 2020 (including retrospective updates) 
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21 January, 2020
OMV fails in Taranaki - win for the climate - Scoop Politics link here

" "OMV's failure to find fossil fuels in its recent drilling campaign off the Taranaki coast is a win for the climate" says Urs Signer, member of Climate Justice Taranaki.

"Every dollar spent on keeping humanity dependant on oil and gas brings us closer to climate chaos. It is completely irresponsible to be drilling for fossil fuels in 2020. We all know that in order to maintain a stable climate for future generations, we can't afford to be looking for more oil and gas. Instead, we need to urgently transition to a just and fair low-carbon economy."

An OMV spokesperson was recently quoted in the media: 'It is looking like there has not been a commercial-scale find from the Gladstone-1 exploration well.' [ Link here]

Urs Signer says: "OMV only cares about making a profit. In 'The Carbon Majors Database', OMV features among the 100 companies responsible for 71% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988 [Link here]. Now they are drilling off the Otago coast in an attempt to fill up their CEO's bank account but are having to run around trying to stop protesters whose numbers are growing as public opinion turns against the industry. The most recent failed company, Tamarind, left local businesses and taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars out of pocket and it's still not certain how this may play out with other companies as they fail. It is time we stand up to protect the oceans and our communities from climate criminals like OMV" concludes Urs Signer."

02 January, 2020
New Zealand glaciers turn brown from Australian bushfires' smoke, ash and dust - The Guardian link here

Snow-capped peaks and glaciers discoloured as former PM says ash could accelerate glacial melting

"Snow and glaciers in New Zealand have turned brown after being exposed to dust from the Australian bushfires, with one expert saying the incident could increase glacier melt this season by as much as 30%. On Wednesday many parts of the South Island woke up to an orange haze and red sun, after smoke from the Victorian and New South Wales blazes drifted east on Tuesday night, smothering many parts of the island for most of the day. On Thursday, pictures taken from the Southern Alps showed the smoke haze carrying particles of dust had tinged snow-capped mountain peaks and glaciers a shade of caramel, with former prime minister Helen Clark expressing concern for the long-lasting environmental impacts on the mountains. “Impact of ash on glaciers is likely to accelerate melting,” Clark tweeted. “How one country’s tragedy has spillover effects.”

There are more than 3,000 glaciers in New Zealand and since the 1970s scientists have recorded them shrinking by nearly a third, with current estimates predicting they will disappear entirely by the end of the century.

Professor Andrew Mackintosh is head of the school of earth, atmosphere and environment at Monash University, and the former director of the Antarctic Research Centre. He said in nearly two decades of studying glaciers in New Zealand he had never seen such a quantity of dust transported across the Tasman, and the current event had the potential to increase this season’s glacier melt by 20-30%, although Mackintosh stressed this was no more than an estimate. “It is quite common for dust to be transported to New Zealand glaciers, but I would say that the amount of transport right now is pretty phenomenal – I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it,” Mackintosh said.“It is concerning to me to see so much material being deposited on the glaciers.”"

28 December, 2019
Fight on as multinational oil giant gains go-ahead - Otago Daily Times link here

International oil giant OMV is turning its sights on southern waters after being given approval to drill in the Great South Basin. But travelling south with its drill rig will be big questions about climate change and human rights. Chris Morris reports.

"It is not every day you get the chance to fight a multinational oil giant in your own back yard. That is the prospect facing Jack Brazil, a spokesman for Oil Free Otago, as he and the other members of the group plot protest action against OMV when it enters southern waters later this summer. "It’s not every day you can stand up to these companies that are responsible for so much harm in the world. "Personally, that’s why I stand up to them — it’s the intersection of climate justice and, as well as the emissions, this also has an impact on people and the environment as well as the future climate," he told the Otago Daily Times this week. His comments came after the Environmental Protection Agency this week granted OMV consent to drill up to 10 exploration and appraisal wells in the Great South Basin — which lies off the Otago and Southland coastline — by 2030.

... A recent Carbon Majors Report, published in 2017, named OMV AG — the Austria-based parent company of OMV’s global operations, including OMV NZ — as one of the top 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions. OMV came in at 94 on the list, which also featured big players ranging from China’s nationalised coal output to the likes of ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron. At the time, the Guardian highlighted the report’s blunt warning — that if fossil fuels continued to be extracted at the same rate over the next 28 years as they were between 1988 and 2017, global average temperatures would be on course to rise by 4degC by the end of the century. That was likely to have catastrophic consequences, including substantial species extinction and global food scarcity risks, it warned.

... In October, climate activist Mike Smith, of Nga Puhi and Ngati Kahu, travelled to Vienna to accuse OMV chief executive Rainer Seele in the International Criminal Court of crimes against humanity and the environment, including genocide. Mr Smith claimed OMV had contributed to the destruction of the land and livelihoods of indigenous peoples, including Maori. "By continuing the search for new oil and gas to burn in the face of the climate emergency, companies like OMV are condemning our grandchildren to a future of immense suffering," Mr Smith said. "We believe that this is a crime of global proportions and as such, the company executives that are making these decisions deserve to stand trial."

... OMV staff in New Zealand and Austria did not respond to ODT questions yesterday, including on Oil Free Otago’s concerns or when the company would begin drilling here.However, OMV’s ambitions in southern waters have been welcomed by others, including — cautiously — the Otago Chamber of Commerce, which has said tight environmental monitoring would be needed but economic benefits could follow for Dunedin. The Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ) has also welcomed the EPA’s decision to grant drilling consents for the Great South Basin as "great news". PEPANZ chief executive John Carnegie said it "makes sense" to develop energy sources within New Zealand, rather than import it, and a discovery of natural gas or oil would have "major economic benefits". Taxes and royalties for the Crown would be "substantial" and investment in infrastructure and well-paid jobs "will help secure a more inclusive and prosperous society". "All credible forecasts show the world will still need new reserves of natural gas and oil as we transition to a lower-emissions world. "Natural gas in particular is a crucial transition fuel, providing affordable and reliable lower-carbon energy for New Zealand." "

27 December, 2019
Huge sea temperature anomaly has water six degrees above normal - Dominion Post Stuff link here

"A massive heat sink is developing in the ocean to the east of New Zealand, with temperatures as much as 6 degrees Celsius higher than usual. The large blob, which is about 2000 kilometres wide, was identified by thermal imaging from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A lot of sun in the area combined with very little wind have combined to make it one of the hottest ocean spots on the planet right now. The red area seen in the heat map indicates temperatures at least 4C above average, and the white areas at the centre indicate temperatures 6C above average."

07 November, 2019
Ardern hails 'historic moment' for NZ as Zero Carbon Bill passes - 'We are on the right side of history' - TVNZ link here

"New Zealand's new climate change zero carbon law has passed its final hurdle in Parliament. It sets out the country's commitment to prepare and adapt to the effects of climate change and to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it a "historic moment" and told the House New Zealand would not be a "slow follower" when it comes to climate change action.

... The third reading of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill saw a highly anticipated revelation by National that it would support the law change through its last stage, after proposed changes were rejected in Parliament last night. Leader Simon Bridges said there were still aspects of the bill he disagreed with, but said "we have taken a bipartisan approach to climate change but we will continue to fight for the changes we think will make the law better". He pledged to implement National's proposed changes if it were to govern after next year's election.

... Today, Mr Shaw, who brought the bill to Parliament, told the House, "some things are too big for politics, and the biggest of them all is climate change". "The intent of Zero Carbon Bill was, is and always should be to elevate climate change policy beyond petty politics. To transcend and transform a problem so wicked and so stuck that we have made virtually no progress on it in the 30 years we have been aware of it."

... All parties except ACT supported the law change throughout all readings, with ACT leader David Seymour saying "it will not be effective at reducing carbon emissions" during the first reading in May. "It hasn't worked in the UK; why would it work here?" he asked the House.

The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill sets out a 10 per cent reduction target for biological methane emissions by 2030, and "aims" for a 24-47 per cent reduction by 2050. It proposes limiting global warming no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. The bill creates a Climate Change Commission, which is intended to give "advice, guidance and regular five-yearly 'emission budgets'", Mr Shaw said. The bill takes a split gases approach, with "long-live gases and short-live".

The original timeline had anticipated the new law to be in force by April 2019. The bill came under fire by former Greens co-leader Russell Norman, who said in May there was no way to enforce the 30-year climate change policy.

Earlier today, Mr Shaw told the House that the Zero Carbon Bill was the idea of youth climate organisation Generation Zero in 2016. The bill had more than 10,000 submissions from the public and almost 1500 people requested to present their submission."

31 October, 2019
“You’ve failed us” – student takes over Russel Norman’s speech - Greenpeace website link here

"A high school student has taken over what was meant to be a speech delivered by Greenpeace head Russel Norman at an Environmental Protection Authority conference today. Norman had been invited by the EPA to speak at the private event, but in a surprise twist handed the microphone to Wellington high school student, Sorcha Carr, instead. Norman said it was time the Authority started listening to the voices of the future.

In a mic drop moment, Carr told the government agency charged with protecting New Zealand’s environment that it had failed. “Sacred Heart College is where I should be right now, celebrating my final week of school with pranks and banter. But instead, here I am, because yet again, the people we have entrusted with our lives and environment have failed to protect me, my brothers and my sisters of Aotearoa,” she said. Carr implored the EPA to hold a public hearing into an application by oil giant OMV to undertake high risk deep water drilling off the coast of Otago.

The Authority has been considering the application behind closed doors, despite mounting pressure and a 12,000 strong petition to make it public in order for local communities, iwi, scientists and local businesses to have a say. Under New Zealand law, the EPA doesn’t need to hold a public consultation for such applications, but has discretion to do so if it deems consultation “necessary or desirable”. Until now, the Authority has refused make OMV’s application public.

During her speech, Carr said the impacts of OMV’s drilling could be devastating for the future of young people around the country.“Oil drilling has no place in Aotearoa. It threatens entire ecosystems, and the fruits of such labour threatens the future of the millions of children around the world and New Zealand,” she said. “It’s time to stop hiding behind the greed and profit. It’s time to stand up and tell the truth. As a democratic society, we deserve to know about this process.”

Greenpeace’s Norman says he hopes Carr’s speech will inspire the EPA to put the future of New Zealanders first, and reject OMV’s application. “Today Sorcha has bravely stood up on behalf of us all, to give us the voice that we’re being denied. The EPA has a moral obligation to act on this,” he says. “Sorcha is one of millions of young people around the world who are being forced to take action on a problem they didn’t create, who are facing a climate emergency on such an immense scale that their future is uncertain. We simply cannot afford to let them down.”"

24 October, 2019
Government sets deadline for farmer emissions - Dominion Post Stuff link here

"The Government has announced plans to make New Zealand the first nation in the world to fully fold agriculture into an emissions pricing scheme, with a comprehensive price on greenhouse gases introduced by 2025. It will do this by accepting an agricultural sector proposal to give it those five years to develop a farm-level pricing mechanism separate from New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which the sector opposes. Farmers will pay no additional levies or charges in the meantime. If this new scheme is not established, agriculture will be folded into the ETS by default in 2025 – a "backstop" measure neither the Government nor the sector wants to use. It could even be brought in as early as 2022 if the Government at that point felt agriculture was not moving fast enough.

An emissions trading scheme aims to cut emissions by charging companies a price for each unit of greenhouse gas produced, giving a financial incentive to to reduce their contribution to climate change over time. While the Government stands ready for criticism from green groups and more vociferous climate activists that it is moving too slowly, Stuff understands Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's overriding objective is to make the key components of emissions policy bipartisan – in the same way trade policy is. This is to give certainty to the farmers, investors in the sector and the economy overall. A senior Government source said Ardern was not wedded to the ETS as the mechanism to lower emissions. "The overall objective is to drive down emissions," the source said. One industry source close to the decision told Stuff political consensus was crucial. "We can't keep jumping from one end to the other on this stuff. This is beyond politics now. This is really the consumer talking," they said.

... Agriculture accounts for about half of all New Zealand's carbon emissions profile. One reason given to Stuff for the timeline – five years until agriculture enters into the pricing mechanism – is to allow the sector to adjust and develop with the Government a comprehensive measuring and accounting regime. The Government's plan rejects an earlier recommendation from the Interim Climate Change Committee to start pricing agriculture from as soon as next year.

Sector sources say the plan gives farmers a direct and healthy incentive to work out their own farm-level pricing system for emissions and not incur the backstop. The ETS backstop is still unpopular with farmers, with the sector source close to negotiations saying the Government and sector had "agreed to disagree" on the matter. The source also said the sector was determined to reduce emissions quickly enough to make the backstop irrelevant. The Government source said the sector would naturally oppose the backstop, but both sides were confident it would not be needed. "We think they will work out a scheme by 2025. There needs to be a measure in case they don't." The sector has already committed to measuring all emissions at a farm-level by 2022.  Thanks to the coalition agreement with NZ First, emission pricing will still be discounted by 95 per cent initially.

... Agriculture is by far New Zealand's largest greenhouse gas emitter but the problem of how exactly to price it – because alternative technology to reduce livestock emissions is not readily available – has been a political nightmare for well over a decade. Other countries with similar emissions profiles have faced the same political dilemma. All major sector groups, including Federated Farmers, have agreed to the Government's plan in spite of disquiet over the backstop, which will be passed into law as an amendment to the main emissions trading law, introduced when Labour was last in government in 2008.

... The three governing parties have had serious hurdles to overcome to get agreement on the matter, with one proposal stalling in Cabinet committee.  Labour's coalition agreement with NZ First expressly notes that if agriculture comes into the ETS, it must receive a 95 per cent discount on whatever the carbon price is on entry into the scheme. On current emissions pricing that would cost farmers about $0.01c per kg of milk solids and $0.03c per kg of sheep meat.

The 2025 introduction will not give the sector a huge amount of time to meet the first target mandated under the Government's Zero Carbon Bill – a 10 per cent reduction on methane emissions by 2030."

14 October, 2019
Aaron Hawkins [Green Party] one of youngest mayors ever for Dunedin - Otago Daily Times link here

"Dunedin's new mayor is the youngest ever to take office, replacing outgoing three-term mayor Dave Cull."

27 September, 2019
School climate strike: Adults join with kids in huge day of national protest - Dominion Post Stuff website link here

"A sea of people waving placards and megaphones lined New Zealand's streets for the nation's biggest Strike for Climate action to date. Strike organisers say about 170,000 people around the country took part in Friday's action. Schoolchildren, adults and activists all banded together to protest against climate change. It was the third school strike to take place here this year, inspired by 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

... It's thought more than 40,000 people demonstrated in Wellington, organisers said. Thousands of people marched from Civic Square to Parliament, demanding stronger action against climate change from the New Zealand Government.

... Green Party co-leader James Shaw said the strike showed the power of young people demanding more of their politicians, and it gave hope for the future. "We have worked tirelessly to get a Zero Carbon Act in place with cross-party support and would be open to ways to bring net zero carbon into place by 2040 if the political consensus allowed. "We don't want to see any new fossil fuel permits granted and we'd like current permits to be wound down in an orderly fashion. We have championed an end to exploration and have lobbied to have existing permit extensions closed off," Shaw said.

... Auckland's strike organisers said the best crowd estimate they had heard was around 80,000 people.  ... In Christchurch, about 5000 took part in the strike in Cathedral Square. ... In Dunedin, more than 4000 people were estimated to have taken part in strike there. Protesters marched through the city streets in a line which stretched several city blocks, before swarming into the Octagon. There were more than 40 strike events held around the country."

14 August, 2019
Potatoes vs people: govt moves to protect top vege-growing land - NZ Herald link here

"Lifestyle blocks and new subdivisions will be far harder to develop on areas of rich soil under a new national policy statement on highly productive land unveiled for submissions by the government today.

... The policy seeks to deal with fears that if too much prime horticultural soil is lost to housing, it will reduce New Zealand's capacity to grow staple foods."
08 August, 2019
Doctors refute Fonterra's claim that cow's milk more environment friendly - Dominion Post Stuff link here

"Doctors have hit back at Fonterra's claim that cow's milk is better for the environment. They said that not only was the dairy industry more damaging to the environment, it also contributed to a number of human diseases, including a raised risk of cancer and allergies.

Fonterra's chief technologist, Dr Jeremy Hill, has said milk substitutes such as soy, almond, oat and rice have double the carbon emissions of Fonterra's milk produced in New Zealand, when compared on the basis of their nutrient content.

Speaking on behalf of a panel of three GPs who have formed the lobby group Evidence-Based Eating New Zealand, Wellington-based Dr Luke Wilson said Hill had been "mischievous" in quoting from a United States-Swedish study because it obscured the truth.  "For a start, the Swedish researchers worked for the dairy industry and the findings were published in a little read journal," Wilson said. He said the researchers created a formula combining a measure of nutritional density based on Nordic nutrition recommendations, with estimates of just the greenhouse gas emissions associated with each drink.

"Cow's milk has been shown to be three times worse for greenhouse gases but they then introduce the measure of nutrition content.  "The equation used in this study has however been criticised as biased and the finding questioned by other scientists in the field," Wilson said. He said dairy farming had an impact on the environment besides greenhouse gas emissions. Land, water, and fertiliser use, impact on soil and natural habitats, and, in the case of animal farming, effluent production, all had to be taken into account.  "Processed plant milks produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, no effluent, and overall are better for the environment than cow's milk in every single aspect mentioned above."

Wilson acknowledged processed plant milk alternatives contained fewer nutrients than cow's milk but the nutrition provided by cow's milk was unnecessary and likely to be harmful. None of the nutrients contained in cow's milk are unique, they are all found in whole plant foods with the exception of vitamin B12, which is found in other animal products or can be supplemented. ..."

16 July, 2019
Farmers exempt from 95 percent of emissions charges under new proposed rules - Dominion Post Stuff link here

"Agriculture, the most polluting sector of the economy, looks set to join the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), but under a sweetheart deal that will see it pay just 5 per cent of its total emissions cost from 2025. That would equate to a charge of just $0.01c per kilogram of milk solids and $0.01 cent per kg of beef at the current ETS price of $25 a tonne of carbon.

Agriculture accounts for nearly half of total greenhouse gas emissions. It has been excluded from the ETS until now. The ETS works by forcing polluters to pay a price for their emissions, whilst paying a credit to owners of "carbon sinks" like forests.

The proposals come from a report from the Government's Interim Climate Change Commission (ICCC) which was established to look at ways to bring agriculture into the ETS ahead of a final Climate Change Commission which will be created once the Zero Carbon Bill has passed later this year. The ICCC has proposed bringing agriculture into the scheme from 2025 but under a 95 per cent discount rate, which means farmers will only meet the cost of 5 percent of their emissions. The 95 per cent discount rate was part of Labour's coalition agreement with New Zealand First.

The agriculture sector has cautiously welcomed the report.

30 May, 2019
Budget NZ: $1b KiwiRail boost 'first step' to revitalise rail - Dominion Post Stuff website link here

"KiwiRail is set for a huge funding boost, with $1 billion in new money for trains, ferries and regional lines.

Budget 2019 also included a major additional cash injection for the Auckland City Rail Link, with more than $500 million to cover cost blow-outs and other changes to the project.

The Government rail funding is being described as "the first step" as the Government prepares to develop a national rail plan later this year, raising expectations for more large funding allocations in the future

"This funding will enable KiwiRail to become resilient and reliable through substantial investment in rail infrastructure, purchasing new locomotives and wagons, and beginning the process to replace the Interislander ferries," Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said. Peters holds the state owned enterprises portfolio."

24 May, 2019
Kiwi school students strike again for urgent action on climate change - Dominion Post "Stuff" link here

"Thousands of youngsters nationwide dropped pens for placards on Friday, calling for urgent action on climate change for the second time."

21 May, 2019
National supports climate change bill through first reading - Dominion Post Stuff website link here

"The National Party will support the Government's Zero Carbon Bill through first reading, but has serious concerns about the methane target in the bill.

Speaking during the first reading of the bill, National leader Simon Bridges said his party was supportive of the principles of the bill but National had "real differences" and expected to see change in select committee.

The Government's flagship climate change bill - technically an amendment to an earlier law - would force future governments to set a series of "carbon budgets" over the next 30 years, declining until all long-lived emissions reach net zero at 2050.

It passed its first reading on Tuesday afternoon 119-1, with just ACT opposing it. National's support is not needed for the bill to pass, but has been sought by the Government to signal bipartisan consensus for the country.

14 May, 2019
New Zealand's world-first ‘wellbeing’ budget to focus on poverty and mental health - The Guardian link here

"Country claims to be the first to measure success by people’s wellbeing

Child poverty, domestic violence and mental health will be the priorities in New Zealand’s “wellbeing budget”, the finance minister has announced, with the nation declaring itself the first in the world to measure success by its people’s wellbeing.

... Although comparable countries such as the UK have begun to measure the national rate of wellbeing, New Zealand is the first western country to design its entire budget around wellbeing priorities and instruct its ministries to design policies to improve wellbeing."

08 May, 2019
Zero Carbon Bill: Who supports it and who doesn't  - Dominion Post Stuff link here

"The Government has released more information around what's in its Zero Carbon Bill - so who supports it and who doesn't?

The Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament on Wednesday.

In it, biological methane emissions will legally need to be reduced by at least 10 per cent by 2030 and between 24 and 47 per cent by 2050.

All other emissions would be reduced to "net zero" by 2050 to limit global warming increases to 1.5C.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the bill balanced the need to respond to climate change while not unfairly punishing agriculture.

"New Zealand is a food-producing nation. We have to become a sustainable food-production nation," she said.

Forest and Bird spokesman Geoff Keey said they were "strongly backing" the target to keep warming to no more than 1.5 degrees, because "this is the limit required to protect nature and people from the worst effects of climate change".

...However Keey said they were disappointed the draft legislation offered "special favours to the agricultural lobby".

The policy treats methane more softly than all other greenhouse gas emissions - but still mandates a large reduction.

"If agriculture doesn't play a bigger role in reducing warming, everyone else in New Zealand will have to work twice as hard. Climate change demands we do everything we can, not pick and choose," Keey said.

... Minister for Climate Change James Shaw has been negotiating with National for months to get bipartisan support. There has also been some negotiation within the Government, as NZ First has slowed the bill.

National leader Simon Bridges said the party was supportive of the general structure of the bill and of taking politics out of climate change, but had serious reservations about the methane target itself.

ACT's David Seymour has said he would oppose the bill. He said New Zealand would not prosper if forced to make significantly deeper emission cuts than its trading partners.

... Greenpeace executive director Dr Russel Norman said the bill had no ability to enforce its climate change targets.

It had no mechanism that would hold any person or body to account for not adhering to it, he said.

...The agricultural sector also wanted changes made around the bill's methane approach.

Beef and Lamb was "deeply concerned" over the proposed treatment of methane and targets and was calling for critical changes to the bill.

It wanted for a "fair approach" - where each gas was reduced based on its warming impact.

Although Dairy NZ supported much of the legislation, it wanted the target range around methane to be reviewed and aligned with the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

The Government expects to have the bill passed into law by the end of the year. It is set down for its first reading in late-May."

08 May, 2019
Landmark climate change bill goes to Parliament - NZ Government Press Release by Prime Minister Jacinda Adern - Beehive link here

"The Government is today delivering landmark action on climate change – the biggest challenge facing the international community and New Zealand.

“To address the long-term challenge of climate change, today we introduce the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill to Parliament,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

“We’ve built a practical consensus across Government that creates a plan for the next 30 years, which provides the certainty industries need to get in front of this challenge."

07 May, 2019
Several mayors 'unsure' whether human activities contribute to climate change - link here

"Several New Zealand mayors are still reluctant to say they agree with the scientific consensus that human activities have an impact on climate change.

The Local Government Leaders' Climate Change Declaration has been signed by 59 mayors and regional council chairs. Nineteen are still yet to sign.

At less than three pages, the declaration is a short, vague document, with nothing in the way of specific targets or commitments.

The essential points are that those who sign it acknowledge that climate change exists, and ask central government to work with local government in both reducing and mitigating the effects. It doesn't outline any specific measures central government should take.

It also includes a handful of commitments for councils, which again are vague and don't include any specific criteria.

These include: promoting walking, cycling, and public transport, improving resource efficiency of homes and businesses, supporting renewable energy and electric vehicles, and working with central government to reduce emissions."

16 March, 2019
'Editorial: The climate must change' - NZ Herald link here

"Yes, we have gone big today on climate change.

Ugh, some readers will say.

Out come the tin foil hats and the pseudo-science.

So I'll type this slowly, because clearly some people are having trouble understanding this:

Climate change is real.

Humankind faces a real and imminent threat to not only our cushy way of life, but perhaps to our survival.

Two degrees of warming will be catastrophic, warns the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We're on target for four-plus.

We have pumped more carbon into the atmosphere in 30 years than in our entire existence.

Within 10 years it could be too hot and humid to survive in some of the world's largest cities.

Sea levels are rising, millions of people will be displaced, hurricanes and heatwaves grow more intense and frequent ... do we lose the ability to grow crops before we take this seriously?"

16 March, 2019
Tens of thousands of school students demonstrate across NZ calling for action on climate change - Dominion Post "Stuff" link here

"From Southland to the Bay of Islands, tens of thousands of school pupils took to the streets today demanding action on climate change.

Around 40 demonstrations were planned in cities and towns across New Zealand as part of the international School Strike 4 Climate campaign.

Young people are calling on the Government to do more to reduce global warming before higher temperatures and rising sea levels have catastrophic consequences.

The student strike is the largest of its kind ever staged in New Zealand and organisers vowed more action is to follow."
15 March, 2019
'Climate change protestors outside Parliament' - NZ Herald link here
14 March, 2019
'Show us how it's done' - 22 leading NZ academics who back the School Strike 4 Climate' - NZ Herald link here

"Why should students strike over climate change tomorrow? Here, 22 of New Zealand's leading scientists and academics explain."

14 March, 2019
School Strike 4 Climate Action NZ - website link here

"We are striking from school to tell our politicians to take our futures seriously and treat climate change for what it is - a crisis.
They can show us that they care by taking urgent action to move New Zealand beyond fossil fuels and get the job done of moving us to 100% renewable energy for all!"

26 July, 2018
‘NZ 'complacent' over climate change’ - NZ Herald link here

“New Zealand's approach so far to climate change has been labelled "complacent" by a leading energy researcher.
Anna Berka, a research fellow at the University of Auckland's Energy Centre, says there has been a tendency by Kiwis to think New Zealand is too small to contribute to significant global change and can't afford to try.

"People regard the process as too expensive, that we should wait for other countries to develop the technology," she says. "This self-defeating narrative is repeated and reinforced by established industry players who dominate policy and media discourse."
She says our legacy and international standing in hydroelectric and geothermal power has, ironically, made us "complacent about putting in place" measures to help with climate change (New Zealand is the fourth largest generator of geothermal in the world, the energy accounting for about 16 per cent of our electricity needs)."

Although there has been targeted investment support from regional and national government for geothermal and electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure Berka says we must, and can, do much more.”

12 April, 2018
‘Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern bans new offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand’ - NZ Herald link here

“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has banned future offshore oil and gas exploration in New Zealand. The only exploration likely to be contemplated by the new Government is on-shore exploration, limited to energy-rich Taranaki.

"We're protecting industry and protecting future generations from climate change," said Ardern.

"This is a responsible step, which provides certainty for businesses and communities that rely on fossil fuels."

The more than 30 existing permits, 22 for offshore oil and gas exploration, are unaffected by today's announcement, Energy Minister Megan Woods said. If those permits, which cover 100,000sq km are continued or taken up, exploration will continue for more than a decade.

Ardern and the ministers are expected to outline plans for their version of a managed transition towards a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 and a goal of achieving 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035.”

18 December, 2017
‘Prime Minister announces formulation of Zero Carbon Act, climate change commission’  - NZ Herald link here
19 November, 2017
‘Fonterra's climate change fudge’ - Rod Oram link here

“At first glance, Fonterra made on Tuesday a massive pledge to tackle climate change.

...But those targets apply only to Fonterra’s own operations, which amount to only 10 percent of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by its total supply chain. They do not cover the other 90 percent of its footprint, which is generated on-farm by its farmer-shareholders who supply more than 20 bn litres of milk a year to it.

...Fonterra still hasn’t got its head around climate change. One particular factor clouds its judgement. It says its farmers’ operations have an emissions intensity which is only half of the average for the global dairy industry. One of their great advantages is pastoral farming compared with feedlot farming among many of their competitors. But this is just the same argument that the Australian coal industry uses. It says its product has a future because it is higher quality and lower emissions than its competitors’. It’s even coined a name for it, HELE coal. This ignores the fact that all coal is facing strong and growing competition from zero emissions fuel, and from countries’ climate change policies. Such clean competition and regulatory pressures are only just emerging for dairy companies, but those will ramp up fast in the years ahead.

...pressure is building on some of our dairy competitors overseas to cut their emissions. The leader is California. It passed a law in September that requires its livestock industry to cut its emissions of methane, a highly potent GHG, by 40 percent of 2013 levels by 2030, with three-quarters of that reduction coming from dairy farms.

...we’re lagging far behind California overall. As a nation, our GHG emissions have risen by 21 percent since 1990, but California’s are nearly back to 1990 levels. By 2030, the state aims to cut its emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels. But we’re only aiming for an 11 percent cut.

Our international commitments are meaningless, though. On our current trajectory, we are missing them by miles.

Thus, Fonterra is playing a highly irresponsible and very risky game with its future and the country’s by trying to fudge its impact on climate change with its 10 percent solution.”

17 November, 2017
‘Urban sprawl and the land that keeps on giving’ - NZ Herald link here

" ...Scientists warn that populations here and around the world are growing so fast that it will curtail countries' ability to feed their own people. It may sound improbable, but they warn that urban sprawl could limit even New Zealand's ability to be self-sufficient in vegetables.  

...Contrary to popular belief, New Zealand does not have an abundance of rich soils. Most of it is class six - suitable for pasture or forestry, but not much else.

...Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman wants the 5.5 per cent of New Zealand's landmass that is used for fruit and vegetable production to be preserved. He says that since 2001, we've lost about 10,000ha of growing land - 6000ha for vegetables and 4000ha for fruit. That's an area just under the size of Hamilton. "What it's showing is that we are losing valuable land to houses and lifestyle blocks," Chapman says. "The problem with that is that it is very difficult to keep growing the same amount of vegetables to feed New Zealand at certain times of the year.

...Most of the vegetables grown in New Zealand are consumed here.

...While the majority of vegetables were grown near main centres 40-50 years ago, there is now more of a reliance on large food production hubs - Pukekohe, the Horowhenua and Canterbury.”

20 October, 2017
Reactions to Formation of a Labour, NZ First, and NZ Green Party Government

‘Jacinda Ardern becomes New Zealand's youngest woman leader’
- BBC News link here

‘How reluctant leader Jacinda Ardern charmed New Zealand’
-  The Guardian link here

‘Mike Hosking: Already a mess - we are all in trouble’
- NZ Herald Headline - NZ Herald link here

Mike Hosking was the host at the final leaders debate, a position that was opposed without success by a petition on the basis that he is “one of the most politically biased TV personalities in New Zealand ...”

01 September, 2017
Why are New Zealand's waters so polluted? - Aljazeera website link here

New Zealand's abundant rivers have been central to its reputation as a land of natural beauty – but are its waterways as sparkling as the tourist ads suggest?

31 August, 2017
What is the problem with New Zealand's water sources? - Aljazeera website link here

A look at how water pollution has become a major concern for the country

27 June, 2017
'Climate change court case:”The costs of inaction are terrifying’ - NZ Herald link here

"... Law student Sarah Thompson, 26, is suing the Government over its climate change targets, alleging it's not doing enough.
"Her lawyer, Davey Salmon, today argued in the High Court at Wellington that the National Government was looking for reasons to delay taking action...” - NZ Herald link here

28 March, 2017
‘Innovative bill protects Whanganui River with legal personhood’ - New Zealand Parliament website link here
29 November, 2016
'Revealed: NZ household's impact on climate change' - NZ Herald link here

"New Zealand's gross emissions per person were now fifth highest out of the 41 countries which set reduction targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, and our net emissions were the 14th highest."

21 July, 2015
New Zealand: ‘Climate Change Refugee’ Case Overview   - Library of Congress link here

"A New Zealand case involving an application for refugee status based on the effects of climate change in the Pacific Island nation of Kiribati has received media attention around the world.  The proceedings in the case came to a close in July 2015, when the Supreme Court of New Zealand, the highest court in the country, dismissed an application for leave to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision in which it ruled against the applicant.

This report summarizes the decisions of the different courts that issued rulings in the case and provides information on other Australian and New Zealand cases that involved refugee claims based on the impacts of climate change in different countries.  Links to media articles and academic writings that include discussion of the New Zealand case are provided at the end of this report."

Download report here

19 June, 2015
'Pollution from dairy continues to grow' -NZ Herald link here
18 November, 2014
'Editorial: Quit cooling our heels on climate action' - NZ Herald link here
15 April, 2014
'NZ emissions accelerating' - NZ Herald link here
02 April, 2014
'The New Zealand Government opens eight areas for oil and gas exploration' - NZ Herald link here
10 December, 2012
'Kyoto pull-out 'economic mistake' - NZ Herald link here
04 December, 2012
'Groser defends ditching of Kyoto' - NZ Herald link here
12 November, 2012
'Key defends decision not to stick with Kyoto Protocol' - NZ Herald link here