28, Nov, 2015

New Zealanders from every walk of life march for solutions not pollution

Category: News

Ahead of the UN Climate Summit in Paris more than 15,000 New Zealanders have taken part in the Peoples Climate march in Auckland this morning, kicking off what will be the largest climate mobilisation the world has ever seen. Early reports from Wellington and Christchurch indicate at least another 8,000 people have taken to the streets in the first of these nationwide events.

The Auckland march up Queen Street ended with a mass haka challenging the leaders of the world to take real climate action. Over the weekend there will be marches in more than 2000 cities around the globe. Marches are also happening in 34 other New Zealand locations with the smallest in Raoul Island in the Kermadecs, where the entire population of seven people will take part.

In Auckland, Reverend Carolyn Kelly, Presbyterian Minister spoke of how important this issue is for faith groups to be taking action on climate change, “people of faith all over the world will be marching together this weekend to protect our common home.”

Helen Kelly, Union leader at the Wellington march, said, “Leadership on climate change can be good for us all.   It can change how the economy works; encourage people to make better investment decisions that also address issues like inequality, and allow a future for our kids that is one we would all hope for.”

Dr Rhys Jones, University of Auckland spoke of the health benefits of taking action on climate change.

“Climate change could represent the greatest health opportunity of the 21st century,” said Dr. Jones. “Well ­designed climate action – including rapidly phasing out coal, switching from car trips to more active transport, and creating energy ­efficient homes – will reduce leading causes of death and illness and create a healthier society.”

Kristin Gilles, March Convenor in Auckland commented on the Government’s lack of action, “Instead of seizing the opportunities from moving to a low-carbon future, the New Zealand government is lagging behind its people and the world by taking a weak target to Paris and refusing to take real action on climate change.

“There is a lot we can do in New Zealand to reduce emissions, from unleashing a wave of kiwi innovation by putting a price on carbon, greening our transport system, to moving to 100 percent renewable electricity.

Niamh O’Flynn, National Director of 350 Aotearoa spoke of her hope for the future, “We're marching to let our leaders, and world leaders, know we're going to keep holding them to account. And we expect to see real climate action, regardless of what happens at the climate talks. Because our movement is strong and diverse, change is inevitable. That I have faith in.”

The People’s Climate March organisers want to see the Government implement a real climate action plan to reverse the growth in New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions and establish a just transition to a cleaner, fairer economy. You can see our simple plan here:

Partner organisations who have helped make the climate march happen are:

Public Service Association, Oxfam, Caritas, Generation Zero, Forest & Bird, First Union, 350 Aotearoa, Coal Action Network Aotearoa, WWF, Greenpeace, Actionstation, Unite Union, Tertiary Education Union, P3 Foundation, Rail & Maritime Transport Union with help from many more.

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