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Activists scale Parliament House to expose National failure

Activists scale Parliament House to expose National failure

Wellington, June 25: Four Greenpeace campaigners have evaded security and climbed to the roof of Parliament House with a delivery of eight solar panels. They also plan to unfurl a large banner targeting the Prime Minister.

“Cut pollution, create jobs? Yeah, nah” reads the banner text, which sits alongside a smiling headshot of John Key. The message refers to the Key Government's failure to act on climate change, which has seen pollution increase and New Zealand miss out on creating thousands of clean energy jobs

The activists have lined the ledge just below the building’s roofline with solar panels, and are using them to power their phones and connect to the internet to communicate with people around the world.

Chief policy advisor for Greenpeace New Zealand, Nathan Argent, says with people now shovelling mud out of their homes and counting the cost of the latest extreme weather events, there is no excuse for doing nothing.

“Our government needs to put in place a real climate action plan now. John Key has had seven years to take climate change seriously and to take action, but instead he's failed to introduce a single piece of law to reduce climate pollution. Pollution is only growing and it will cost our economy billions in the future” he says.

By the government’s own figures, the increase in total emissions by 2020 will be almost 30% worse than it was in 1990.

“Instead of investing in clean energy, this government has handed over millions in taxpayer's money to some of the world’s biggest polluters to drill our seas for oil,” he says.

“A real climate action plan would shift us to 100% clean energy. This will cut pollution, create tens of thousands of jobs, and provide a multibillion dollar boost year-on-year to the economy. ”
Detailed energy modelling by the world renowned German Aerospace Centre (DLR) has already shown that New Zealand can be 92% fossil fuel free across the economy by 2050, and oil free for road transport within two decades.

But despite our huge clean energy potential, New Zealand is fast becoming one of the world's worst laggards on climate action, which risks damaging our reputation, Argent says.
In a New Zealand first, the group on the roof of Parliament House are using the application Periscope to provide live streaming of the protest, giving people all over the world the chance to watch the event in real-time from a bird’s-eye perspective.

They are also holding what they’ve coined a “Reddit on the Roof” session, which allows anyone to use Reddit, a user-generated webpage popular for its “Ask Me Anything” section, to ask them questions.

Experienced climber Johno Smith is one of the four.

He recently made headlines as the only Kiwi among six global activists who climbed aboard a 38,000-tonne Shell oil rig in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and camped there for a week to protest against the oil giant’s plans to drill in the delicate Arctic.

-ENDS-

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