• Dear ECan, please say no to the waste pipeline into our ocean
    Our wild oceans are places of beauty, the living spaces for countless animal species, and our places of recreation. The Pacific Ocean is not a dumping ground. A South Canterbury-based dairy company is applying for permission to build a 7.5 kilometre-long pipeline to discharge up to 10 million litres per day of wastewater into the Pacific Ocean just south of Timaru. No business should be making profits at the expense of harm to Papatūānuku. Waste systems should be designed within the business and not externalised into the environment. The proposed pipeline would take waste into an area proposed as a protected marine reserve. The South East Marine Protected Area (SEMPA) will stretch from Timaru to Southland and aims to protect the habitat of Hoiho (yellow eyed penguin – threatened, nationally endangered), kororā (little penguin – at risk, declining) and Hectors Dolphin (nationally vulnerable). We ask ECan to reject this proposal and suggest Oceania Dairy uses the latest technology and best environmental practices to treat its waste on site. You can also make a personal submission to ECan here: https://www.ecan.govt.nz/do-it-online/resource-consents/notifications-and-submissions/notified-consents/oceania-dairy-limited/ https://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/117493826/oceania-dairy-wants-to-discharge-10-million-litres-a-day-of-treated-wastewater-into-pacific-ocean https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/388982/new-zealand-government-announces-marine-protection-plan-for-coast-of-south-island Photo: Paul Kennedy
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  • Formalise cross-party partnership to protect children from further climate breakdown.
    We are parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, wider whanau and people who care about the world our children and all children will grow into. Every signature on this letter sends the strong message: co-operative politics over adversarial to keep moving progress forward on climate mitigation. We need this Memorandum of Understanding to allow the political leaders of Aotearoa New Zealand to commit to work together to protect younger generations from the worst effects of climate breakdown. To help our Parliament form strong binding policies and develop trust with all New Zealanders that successive governments will continue to progress climate mitigation and reducing our emissions to net zero without delay. To enable our political leaders to create a different vision for upcoming generations and ensure New Zealand continues to be a world leader in positive change. Our country has a history of stepping up and doing what is needed and inspiring other countries by our example, and we hope that will continue. Thank you, Alicia Hall and Millions of Mothers Please find Our Why and Full Letter here: https://www.millionsofmothers.org/post/calling-for-formal-cross-party-partnership-to-protect-children-from-further-climate-breakdown
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  • Aviation Eco-Tax to offset climate impact of flying
    Although aviation only accounts for about four percent of all warming activity, it is growing at a rate of five percent each year. This means it is on track to double in 15 years as people in poorer countries become accustomed to the kind of lifestyles westerners have been enjoying for decades. People living in New Zealand are among the worst offenders for greenhouse gas emissions from aviation. There are no currently-viable technologies that can enable people to fly without adversely affecting the climate. In New Zealand the cost of taking a bus or train is very high relative to flying. Flying is so cheap there is no incentive to travel by means which emit less CO2. In Sweden the amount added is very moderate, ranging from $10 to around $60. If you can afford to buy a ticket, you can also afford to pay the tax. Despite the fact that the amount is so small, the effect in Sweden has been very positive, with a decline in flight passengers and rapid growth in train ridership. There has been a significant shift in attitudes and these are outcomes we need in New Zealand as well. Each of you holds a portfolio which will either be impacted by climate de-stabilisation, or is directly linked to taxing aviation. Please bring in an Aviation Tax now.
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  • Fix Wairau Estuary & Milford Beach
    North Shore beaches are the pride of Auckland and are of world renown. Wairau Estuary and Milford Beach are a regional resource. Large numbers of visitors from South and West Auckland enjoy them throughout summer. Yet Wairau Estuary is one of the most heavily contaminated waterways in Auckland. The contamination includes silt (that chokes seafloor life), human faecal contamination, heavy metals and hydrocarbons. Wairau Outlet has a permanent no swim warning. The only one north of the Harbour Bridge. There is human sewage in the Wairau Estuary. This contaminates Milford Beach. Heavy metals and hydrocarbons in the Estuary are carried with silt onto Milford and Castor Bay Beaches. High levels of Zinc, Lead, Copper, Cadmium, Chromium and Arsenic are present. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons cause cancer and are found in the sediment of Milford Beach in moderately elevated (amber zone) quantities. There is a total ban on gathering shellfish off the Wairau Outlet, because they contain human faecal matter. Council puts a red no swim advisory on any beach when 2 in every 100 swimmers are likely to get sick. Swimming illness is usually mild; it takes the form of a “cold”, ear infection or sinus infection. Or a “tummy bug”, with diarrhoea or vomiting. Most people view swimming as healthy and mistakenly blame other factors for their illness. Children are at highest risk from swimming, because they play in the shallows where the faecal bugs concentrate. The Wairau Estuary is special to Milford & Castor Bay. There is nothing similar on other North Shore beaches. It should be a jewel in the crown; a place that people & wildlife seek out rather than avoid because it is stinky & toxic. In addition to its own unique features, it can be a connection between Lake Pupuke, Sylvan Park, Milford & Castor Bay Beach. Sign our petition for a cleaner, safer Milford Beach and Wairau Estuary.
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    Created by Guy Armstrong
  • Save the Christchurch Central City black-billed gull colony from future destruction
    For many years, the most critically endangered gull on the planet, the Black-billed Gull, has struggled to find a suitable site for breeding, due to flooding and predation. However, over the past two years a breeding colony of around 300 birds has established in the Christchurch Central Business District in the flooded foundations of a demolished building in Armagh Street. While the gulls themselves are protected by legislation, the site is not, and as soon as their nesting site is abandoned for the season the landowner can modify the site, preventing it's future use as a nesting site. For too long, we have been putting human interests before that of the planet and our collective survival, resulting in a polluted planet where no organisms can escape the impact of human activities. We believe that the preservation of endangered life on earth is more important, and that building development should not further endanger an already endangered species. More information on the Black-billed gull is available here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/99498678/the-worlds-rarest-gull-calls-new-zealand-home-but-most-kiwis-dont-know-it
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  • Save NZ Dolphins
    Māui dolphins are on the brink of extinction and Hector’s dolphins are heading towards a similar fate if nothing changes. These dolphins are taonga and native to New Zealand, they’re not found anywhere else in the world. The single greatest threat to Māui and Hector’s dolphins is fishing nets. There used to be around 50,000 Hector’s but now, because of destructive fishing methods, not many more than 10,000 remain. For the critically endangered Māui, it’s even worse. In the 1970s there were around 2,000, now there are fewer than 60 left. If we don’t act now we risk losing New Zealand dolphins forever. We need to save them, and we hope you will help us! Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), has been working in New Zealand behind-the-scenes for years gathering evidence and garnering political and public support. Now it’s time for all of us to raise our voices and be heard. Around 110 to 150 New Zealand dolphins die in set nets every year and a similar number in trawls. Set nets are sometimes referred to as ‘walls of death’. They hang in the water, anchored to the sea bed with weights and are stretched across the surface with floats. They are indiscriminate, catching every creature that swims into them. Trawl nets are dragged through the water by boats and, like the set nets, scoop up whatever and whoever is in their path. Right now Hector’s and Māui dolphins are protected from set nets in just 30% of their habitat and from trawl nets in less than 10%. But, here’s the great news – if we band together we can protect them and we could save the species. Are you with us? The New Zealand government is currently working on what’s called a Threat Management Plan for these dolphins – this plan outlines what the government intends to do to look after the dolphins. However the plan is woefully inadequate; the government proposals will allow at least 50 dolphins to die every year in fishing nets. This is unacceptable! See the plan here: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/34971. We’re urging Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to remove these dangerous nets from the dolphins’ home. We’re calling for the New Zealand government to transition our country away from destructive fishing methods, and immediately phase out set net and trawl fishing within the dolphins’ habitat, to the 100 metre depth contour, around the whole coast of the country. The government must also consult relevant local iwi about implementing a phase out of trawling and set nets in line with the obligations of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This is our chance to show the government how much we love these dolphins. They are taonga and deserve to survive and thrive. Sign our petition to send the Prime Minister a message and help us save them! What you can do: - Write to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, using the automatic form on our petition page - Like and share our Facebook/Instagram pages https://www.facebook.com/whalesorgnz/ https://www.instagram.com/wdc_nz/ - Post on social media about NZ dolphins and share it with us using the hashtag #SaveNZDolphins https://player.vimeo.com/video/368146281
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  • Regeneration not Incineration - for a Zero Waste Aotearoa
    WE’RE GOING CIRCULAR Right now, we are seriously challenging our planet’s ability to sustain life. People everywhere are looking for ways to preserve valuable resources and prevent pollution while creating jobs and invigorating a zero waste circular economy. Incinerators undermine these goals because they’re part of an outdated linear system that forces us to continually extract new resources only to destroy them after we’ve used them for just a short while. Our future lies in replacing these destructive technologies with regenerative systems. INCINERATORS POLLUTE OUR AIR While it’s true that today’s incinerators are cleaner than older models, they’re still not perfect. Modern incinerators still release toxic chemicals that include dioxins [4], mercury [5] and cadmium [6] – substances that cause cancer, nerve damage and birth defects. Anyone who lives downwind from an incinerator is in danger of breathing in these dangerous chemicals and suffering the health consequences. [7] Toxins released into the air fall back onto the land to be absorbed by plants and eaten by livestock eventually finding their way into our bodies, via our food, causing further sickness and disease. [8] But the worst part about these toxins is that many don’t break down with some persisting in their toxic state in the environment for decades. [9] INCINERATORS POLLUTE OUR LAND Up to 25% of waste that’s burnt falls to the bottom of an incinerator to become incinerator bottom ash (IBA). This extremely toxic material is mostly dumped in special hazardous waste landfills, but in some countries it’s also used in roading and construction and sometimes spread on land as fertiliser. [10] Researchers are now raising serious concerns about the dangers of IBA with numerous studies [11] showing the detrimental effects of this highly toxic material. These problems are compounded by disposal of smokestack filters that capture highly toxic fly ash. These filters are disposed of in hazardous waste landfills along with IBA where they contribute to the toxic load in the landfills. INCINERATORS POLLUTE OUR FRESHWATER AND MARINE ENVIRONMENTS Incinerator toxins falling back to land are regularly washed into waterways where they combine with leachate from hazardous waste landfills. These contaminants poison fish and other aquatic life as they flow through our streams and rivers into our harbours and eventually into our oceans. These toxins have the potential to enter our food chain at every stage of their journey to the sea. INCINERATORS RELEASE GREENHOUSE GASES While toxins emitted from incinerator smokestacks cause immediate health concerns, most of the exhaust gas is carbon dioxide, which has long term effects on our climate. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that each tonne of waste burnt produces up to 1.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide [12] which can stay in our atmosphere contributing to global warming for decades. Throughout the world, we’re looking for ways to urgently reduce our climate change emissions. Waste-to-energy incinerators work in direct competition with this goal. Incinerators contravene our climate change commitments as signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Climate Agreement, and Agenda 2030. And, they directly contradict support for our Pacific partners through endorsement and support for the Kainaki II Declaration (which declares a climate crisis in the Pacific region) and, our signed commitment to the Boe Declaration on Pacific security. INCINERATORS ARE INEFFICIENT While incineration companies are happy to point out that the waste they burn would otherwise be sent to landfill, they don’t mention that household waste is a substandard fuel. The World Energy Council found that, kilogram for kilogram, waste produces less than one-third the energy of coal and up to one-sixth the energy of natural gas while producing many times the amount of pollution. [13] Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we currently produce 80% of our electricity from renewable sources. And, we have a plan to increase that to 100% by 2035. [14] Waste-to-energy incinerators compete with our renewable energy goals and undermine our commitment to a low emissions economy. INCINERATORS DESTROY VALUABLE RESOURCES Our society is fast becoming aware than our finite planet does not have an unending supply of natural resources. At the same time, we’re learning the importance of protecting and recirculating our resources. Governments, businesses and communities everywhere are looking for better ways to encourage people to refuse, reduce, redesign, reuse, repair, refurbish and recycle the things we use to make sure our resources are not destroyed. Incinerators work in direct conflict with these zero waste objectives. INCINERATORS DESTROY JOBS A key selling point used by incinerator companies is that they create jobs. Disputing this argument, the EU social enterprise reuse, repair, and recycling group, RREUSE, recently found that for every job that the incineration industry might create, recycling centres create 36 jobs and reuse activities create 296 jobs. [15] Materials recovery and recycling services are set to become a rapidly growing sector in the country as our society moves towards a post-waste circular economy. Incineration undermines this plan. INCINERATORS DESTROY ZERO WASTE EFFORTS While we accept that waste is a problem, we know that incinerators aren’t the answer. Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we can address our waste issues in regenerative ways that preserve rather than destroy valuable resources, prevent pollution, produce sustainable and innovative products and material systems, create jobs, and invigorate a zero waste circular economy. To help achieve this goal, we hope you will join us in opposing waste-to-energy incinerators in Aotearoa New Zealand. Footnotes: https://tinyurl.com/y5chaw5k
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  • Support the Lets Get Wellington Riding Vision
    We're seeing electric bikes and scooters sales grow at 100% year on year, and we've seen an increase in commute cycling of 25-40% across the city in the last year. They're often the fastest and cheapest ways around the city. We should be doing everything we can to support them. These new vehicles need safe space to operate on the road. The current plans for cycleways were developed before the explosion in these new types of vehicles. As such, it's no longer fit for purpose. We’ve designed the Let's Get Welly Riding Vision for Wellingtonians to take and run with (or ride, as the case may be). We hope you are inspired and join us in making Welly the best place in the world to live!
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  • Save the Amazon - New Zealand Government to act!
    We students and adults from all across NZ express strong concern about the situation in the Amazon rainforest. The world is in crisis. The Amazon rainforest has been burning for over three weeks; it is so large we can see it from space. This is destroying the homes and livelihoods of many people, including Indigenous communities in the region. The Amazon rainforest has thousands of native species that are dying and being displaced as this fire rages. The Amazon produces 20% of the air we breathe, and has 40% of the world's rainforests. The Amazon rainforest holds 20% of the world's freshwater. All of this is going up in smoke and if we don't act now, the whole forest could burn and it will impact our entire world. Protecting these forests are critical because of their crucial role as absorbers of carbon for the whole world. Given the urgency of the situation, we feel that the fires aren’t getting enough attention as it should be by the authorities within the country and require pressure and assistance by those outside of the country. The following link provides more information about the issue https://mailchi.mp/f17f15f32a53/bulletin-world-weekly-a-weather-report-for-the-world-2456737 We urge the general public to stand with us and urge our leaders to act now to save the Amazon rainforest, as this is an issue that will have severe ramifications for the whole world if not addressed immediately. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons Jlwad under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license
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  • Bring In Subsidies to Encourage Lower Emission Vehicle Purchases
    This is an important issue as it affects all New Zealanders and will continue to affect New Zealanders for many years. If we can reduce the initial price of changing to a more efficient vehicle more New Zealanders will buy them. As a result, New Zeland will have lower private vehicle emissions. As well as later model car ownership. These changes will benefit all New Zealanders as it will help us to meet UN goals for sustainability and also bring us into the future as more people will have electric/ hybrid vehicles and this will create a demand for more charging stations, which will make electric vehicle ownership even easier and more realistic. The changes should be made with inequalities that could result in mind and where possible making changes create equality as well as improve emissions. https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2019/07/government-announces-proposed-clean-vehicle-incentives.html https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/114097177/national-pushes-back-on-clean-car-feebate-but-is-far-from-rejecting-it https://sciblogs.co.nz/infrequently-asked-questions/2017/11/23/climate-change-inequality-and-why-we-need-cycle-lanes-in-south-auckland/
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  • Get Jacinda to Ihumaatao!
    https://youtu.be/6o0SA3X_5CI Ihumaatao is a rare cultural heritage landscape that marks the arrival of the first Polynesians who settled here 800 years ago. The waahi tapu (sacred land) now threatened by destruction is part of this landscape and adjoins one of Aotearoa’s most complex archaeological sites - the Otuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve. In 1863, this land was confiscated because our people refused to pledge allegiance to the English Queen. They were threatened, attacked, robbed and exiled, and sought refuge in Waikato. When they returned, their land had been given to settlers, the Wallace family. In 2014, the Wallace family agreed to sell the land to Fletcher Building. Auckland Council and the Government also approved this whenua as a Special Housing Area for 480 homes. But the most affected people, the Ahikaa (the people of the local marae and whanau of Ihumaatao village) were not consulted. So, six cousins from Makaurau Marae, with the blessing of their people, created the SOUL campaign. For five years the cousins and their supporters have worked hard to stop the development. Since November 2016, kaitiaki have peacefully occupied the land whilst campaigning to #protectihumatao. On Tuesday 23 July around 100 police, along with Fletcher representatives and others, arrived at Ihumaatao to issue eviction notices. Since then, thousands of protectors have come from all over Aotearoa and the world to support our struggle to reclaim the whenua. During the reclamation, we have reached out to the Prime Minister many times, asking her to walk the whenua; to experience, koorero and acknowledge this kaupapa. Until the Prime Minister experiences this whenua for herself, we won’t feel confident she has a true sense of what’s at stake or will deeply appreciate why this whenua matters so much and to so many of our people. When Jacinda became Prime Minister, she promised a kinder approach and we believed her. Under her leadership, the Government can right the wrong of the original raupatu (confiscation) by returning the land wrongfully stolen by the Crown. As Minister of Culture and Heritage she also has a duty to protect this rare archaeological taonga and sacred land from desecration. Your information will be shared with Protect Ihumātao - SOUL campaign and ActionStation who will get in contact from time to time about this campaign and others. You are free to opt out at anytime. Video credit: Conan Fitzpatrick Photo credit: John Kieran Hettig
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  • Moratorium on all water-bottling consents in the Hutt Valley & Wellington region
    More than 86% of the aquifer's waters are already allocated. We need security over this precious resource for the future. There is no water bottling operation in the Wellington region yet. It needs to stay that way. Our population is increasing, sea level rise reduces what can be sustainably extracted, and predicted increases in droughts will hinder aquifer recharge. This means every drop is going to be precious over the coming decades. There are two existing consents to draw almost 950 million litres a year from the Lower Hutt groundwater zone and a new consent is being considered to draw another 432 million. The Waiwhetu aquifer sits under the city of Lower Hutt and supplies the whole Wellington Region with 40 percent of its water and more in summer. You can find a recent story from Radio NZ here: https://bit.ly/2ZnWEdI You can also sign this petition which is seeking a national moratorium: https://bit.ly/31WA7GD
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    Created by Residents of Te Awakairangi