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Climate Change Policy Statement vital

Climate Change Policy Statement vital

14 March 2014

The New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine’s new policy statement on climate change is one of the most important documents about the impact of climate change to have been written specifically for the New Zealand health sector, policy-makers and general population, says the Public Health Association (PHA).

“The policy statement provides a thorough analysis of the expected impacts of climate change on the health of New Zealanders and explains how these impacts disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in our population,” says PHA President Dr Jean Simpson.

Dr Simpson says it’s critically important to acknowledge the actions the statement says need to be taken to limit harms to health.

“The statement says delayed action on other public health issues, such as HIV/AIDS and tobacco control, resulted in unnecessary loss of life. Similar parallels now exist with climate change, requiring accelerated action on issues such as emissions reduction.”

The statement also seeks to clarify the role public health physicians and others play in reducing harm and states that managing uncertainty and risks are core competencies and routine activities for those who work in public health.

“Public health has a history of investigating and managing environmental (and other) health risks and brings particular skills to the complexities of climate change, including a focus on prevention, the determinants of health, and highlighting the role of the state in protecting population health.

“The College is to be congratulated for the depth and breadth of its analysis and its leadership in spelling out what we need to do to respond to one of the most serious and urgent threats to the nation’s health,” Dr Simpson said.

The statement is available online at and was released Thursday 13 March 2014.


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