Source: Greenpeace, Friday 9 March 2018
A group of leading New Zealanders, including scientists, health
professionals, unions, and the current New Zealand Poet Laureate,
have launched an open letter urging Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
to end oil and gas exploration.
More than three dozen notable individuals and associations have
so far put their name to the letter, which encourages Ardern and
her Government to turn her "passion into action" on climate
Ardern made history in the lead-up to the election when she
stated that climate change is the nuclear free moment of her
Pacific poet-scholar and current New Zealand Poet Laureate, Dr
Selina Tusitala Marsh, has signed the letter out of concern for
climate change. In her 2013 poem, 'NZ, the Lucky Country', she
"... We need inter-generationality / eco-sustainability / for our
fossil fuels and energy / in this land of space, water and sea / We
need a bit of Hillary / who had the same fear of heights as you and
me / but knocked the bastard off anyway…"
Groups including the PSA, the New Zealand Medical Association,
Unite Union and the Public Health Association, Greenpeace and
Forest and Bird; scientists including Professor James Renwick and
Dr Jim Salinger; Prof Margaret Mutu FRSNZ, Chairperson of Te
Rūnanga-ā-Iwi o Ngāti Kahu, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of
Wellington, Rt Rev Justin Duckworth; and businesspeople including
Phillip Mills, are among those who are supporting the
One of New Zealand's leading climate change scientists,
Professor James Renwick, says New Zealand needs to take urgent
action on the climate by ending oil and gas exploration.
"All nations need to reduce carbon emissions as soon as possible
and New Zealand can show the world how its done", he says.
Dr Alex Macmillan, Public Health Physician and Co-Convener of
Ora Taiao (The New Zealand Climate and Health Council) says climate
change is one of the most pressing medical issues facing the world
"We know that to protect health from dangerous climate change
the world needs to leave known and new coal, oil and gas in the
ground, and create a fair and healthy shift to renewable energy.
New Zealand is not immune from the health impacts of climate
change. New Zealand is not exempt from obligations to end fossil
fuel exploration and extraction," she says.
Greenpeace Executive Director, Russel Norman, says the world
can't afford to burn even half of existing reserves of fossil
fuels, let alone seek out and burn new reserves if we are to avoid
extremely dangerous climate change.
"The Pacific is on the frontlines of climate change and we must
act swiftly to do our part in the global fight to slow down and
mitigate the effects we're already experiencing," he says.
"Right now we have yet another cyclone forming that could hit
our Pacific Island neighbours, before heading our way. Over the
past year in New Zealand, we've experienced large-scale flooding,
fires, long periods of drought, and cyclones - events that are made
more likely because of climate change."
Other well-known New Zealanders including musician Tiki Taane
and actors Lucy Lawless and Robyn Malcolm have also signed the
letter. It will remain open for signatures for a few more weeks,
before formally being handed in to the Prime Minister.