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To: Members of the NZ Parliament

Open Letter: Climate resilient recovery from Cyclone Gabrielle

To the Members of the New Zealand Parliament,

We begin this letter by acknowledging the whānau and communities who’ve lost loved ones, and had their lives turned upside down at the hand of climate change; in the form of the intensity of Cyclone Gabrielle. Right across Aotearoa, we’ve seen people mobilising in support of those in need in Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Tairāwhiti Gisborne and Te Tai Tokerau Northland - and what a heartwarming thing that is.

We’ve been presented with the reality of having to rebuild entire communities, which comes with the opportunity to right wrongs, do things differently and catalyse climate solutions and resilience.

It would be a mistake to emerge from this Cyclone still clinging to the past. Unless we want to hand over a world with an unstable climate, rising temperatures and a polarity of extreme weather events, business as usual is no longer an option. Future generations are relying on us to act, urgently and transformationally.

We hope you feel the need to be a good ancestor and guardians for future generations, and thus act with this in mind. We hope you see and feel the momentum across Aotearoa for bold, ambitious climate action. We hope you know many people will be basing their vote in this year’s general Election on just that. This will be the Climate Election.

So we urge you to invest in a better future, not a bigger failure.

Investing in a better future would see you prioritising:

Climate-resilient development. Climate-resilient development integrates smart adaptation measures with mitigation to advance sustainable development for all. The 2022 IPCC report noted the urgent need for climate resilient development and that climate resilience is possible when governments make decisions in equitable and inclusive ways and work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, local communities, the private sector, science bodies and traditionally marginalised groups, including women, youth, disabled communities and ethnic minorities

The baking in of mitigation, and accountability to reduce emissions, into all infrastructure projects. Cutting emissions is the most effective mechanism to address the potential for more frequent and ever-intensifying events of this nature.

Participatory democracy. The awareness and popularity of Citizens Assemblies is growing globally. Citizen assemblies typically involve a process of education and deliberation, which allows participants to learn about the issue at hand and engage in constructive dialogue with others who may hold different perspectives. This process can lead to more thoughtful and nuanced decision-making, as well as greater public understanding and education of complex issues. The Climate Change Commission stated in its advice on emissions reduction; We recommend that the Government commit to evolving more effective mechanisms to incorporate the views of the public when determining how to prioritise climate actions and policies to meet emissions budgets, to create more inclusive policy development.

Listening to the indigenous voices that are too often excluded from the conversation. Colonial systems and values are at the root of the climate crisis so Mātauranga Māori and indigenous knowledge need to be at the forefront of our response to climate change. For millennia, Indigenous communities have lived in harmony with Papatūānuku. The Māori value of kaitiakitanga must guide our actions going forward. We need to be working with the planet, not against it. It is crucial that we collaborate with iwi, hapū and our Pacific neighbours to create a ‘new normal’ that benefits all people and the planet.

Land use planning as a tool to both mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis. By carefully planning land use including infrastructure, we can reduce emissions eg. reducing the need for long commutes, thus reducing our faster rising sector of emissions; transport. It is vital that we commit to expanding and enhancing low-carbon transport networks, such as active and public modes, and their accessibility both physically and price-wise to catalyse a mode-shift. Additionally, it can facilitate the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, while also allowing space for and valuing wetlands and other nature based solutions. Identifying land which is prone to flooding, slipping and coastal erosion and inundation must also inform decisions on how such land is used.

The building of resilience. Community resilience is not just about responding to disasters, but also about building sustainable communities that can thrive in the face of the climate crisis. This involves reducing our carbon footprint, enabling sustainable practices, and creating more resilient infrastructure - including social infrastructure.

Why is this important?

Over the last 4 years, tens of thousands of people have hit the streets, signed petitions, raised their voices, and made shifts in their own life prompted by an understanding of how crucial this moment in time is. We happen to be alive in the window of time when we need to have addressed the climate crisis, before it becomes overwhelming.

This presents an enormous responsibility but also an enormous opportunity. We hope you feel this as strongly as we do, as we approach the Climate Election.

“Te toto o te tangata, he kai; te oranga o te tangata, he whenua.”

While food provides the blood in our veins, our health is drawn from the land.


2023-04-18 10:22:38 +1200

100 signatures reached

2023-03-30 07:06:37 +1300

50 signatures reached

2023-03-29 13:13:51 +1300

25 signatures reached

2023-03-29 10:36:28 +1300

10 signatures reached