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To: Parliament

Calling on Parliament for a Green Response to COVID-19

Calling on Parliament for a Green Response to COVID-19

Dear Member of Parliament,
As young people enrolled to vote in this upcoming election, we want strong and effective policies to combat climate change. Through COVID-19 we have seen what the government is capable of in the face of crisis, and what is possible when politicians listen to the experts. The climate crisis is unfolding around us and the effects of it are evident. We need to act now. Passing the Zero Carbon Act last year is not enough. The COVID-19 crisis is the perfect opportunity to justly transition to a low-carbon economy. While the ensuing recession has shown us how quickly economic systems can collapse, it has also proved that previously inconceivable economic reform can and does happen out of necessity. Therefore, now is the time to reset the economy to serve social and environmental needs, rather than the needs of so few.

Prioritisation of indigenous perspectives
Discussions of “shovel-ready projects” indicate the blind urge to rebuild our economy. We believe that it is a prudent and considerate approach to prioritise a sustainable national direction which embodies principles of kaitiakitanga, stewardship and justice. Now is the time that voices of tangata whenua be given a meaningful place in decision making and values of genuine sustainability be used to guide resource management and development. It is critical that the way in which we view and manage our environment shifts from that of being a resource to exploit, to invaluable taonga with which we have a relationship and owe a duty of care. This requires a constitutional transformation which prioritises Māori taking an active role in decision-making.

Pasifika peoples are one of Aotearoa’s largest ethnic demographics and are not independently internationally represented. We must recognise their vulnerability to climate change and their connection to New Zealand. We must move forward compassionately with concerted and on-going support.

To make this happen, indigenous science needs to be paired with indigenous governance. Western institutions must step back and allow these knowledge holders to use intergenerational science and expertise to reach solutions. Engagement and consultation is not enough, we need to adapt to the needs of tangata whenua so that they can exercise tino rangatiratanga. In many cases, power needs to be given up to make space for these essential new ways of governing and institutions must prioritise decolonisation.

Equity and Climate Justice
It is vital that the response to COVID-19 is a just process. This pandemic has exacerbated many of the inequalities that already exist within society, and we must ensure that the recovery takes into account the varied ways in which people are impacted too by climate change. Our response must seek to reduce inequality. The lack of affordable and available safe housing can be solved in conjunction with climate change. For example, looking at how we are able to most effectively build more houses with good insulation to reduce energy usage, as well as ensuring that people stay warm and healthy. We call for intergenerational equity.

Infrastructure
Climate change looms over us as a threat to our very existence. A decisive and centralised response from our government is essential. The decisions made during the next 18 months will lock in our infrastructure for the next 20 years and yet our carbon emissions must be halved in under a decade. We implore you to consider the impact of locking us into economic policies which fail to address the urgency of the climate crisis. The effort of transitioning to a zero carbon economy pales in comparison to the dire cost of inaction. Every economic decision must prioritise transition towards a zero carbon economy.

Science
We have seen the merit of listening to science during the COVID pandemic. Despite decades of scientific evidence outlining climate change as a catastrophic threat, we have not embraced expert advice in the same way. It is the duty of the government to act in the interests of present and future generations; to act before the situation becomes irreversible. We call on the New Zealand politicians to listen to scientific evidence on climate change and enact policies to mitigate its effects.

It has been said that there is a beauty in being bold and acting early. A timely and concerted pandemic response was pivotal to this country becoming an example for the rest of the world where other countries traded public health for economic interests. Aotearoa can continue it’s legacy of being a world leader if we act early on climate change. The climate crisis is unfolding around us. We must be bold, and make significant strides in this area to set a precedent for the global community in addressing it.

Why is this important?

Our Recommendations
We are calling on you, our leaders and representatives, to put the climate crisis at the forefront of this election. We urge you to make strong, effective policies to fight climate change.

a) Honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi by actively seeking and listening to the Māori and Pasifika leadership when making green policies. This inevitably requires constitutional transformation and recognition of tino rangatiratanga.

b) Re-build from COVID-19 with environmental bottom lines and climate change at the
forefront

c) A just transition into a forward-looking low carbon economy.

d) Listen to and work with climate scientists who have been warning us for decades.

e) Take action now

We ask what policies you and your party plan to enact which address these recommendations? Please let us know at vuwclimateclinic@gmail.com

Updates

2020-09-18 20:12:00 +1200

50 signatures reached

2020-09-08 12:34:41 +1200

25 signatures reached

2020-09-07 11:07:22 +1200

10 signatures reached