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Details Of Oxfam Climate Change Election Debate Released

WHAT: Oxfam Climate Change Election Debate

An environmental disaster is unfolding in Tauranga, 750,000 people are on the verge of starvation as a result of the worst drought in 60 years in the Horn of Africa, and Thailand is being devastated by the worst flooding in half a century. With just over a month until Election Day, are key election issues like climate change and foreign affairs getting the attention they deserve? To see where parties stand, Oxfam is hosting a series of election debates (http://oxf.am/4ar) and the first, on climate change, will be in Wellington next week.


Participants: Hon Dr Nick Smith – National
Charles Chauvel – Labour
Dr Russel Norman – Green
Tina Porou – Maori

Chairperson: Barry Coates – Executive Director, Oxfam New Zealand.


WHEN: Wednesday October 26, 6 – 7.30pm


WHERE: Victoria University, Rutherford House Lecture Theatre 1, 23 Lambton Quay (at Bunny St)


BACKGROUND

In a world where droughts, forest fires, cyclones, floods and other extreme weather events are becoming increasingly frequent and severe, the effects are felt first and worst by those who have contributed the least to the problem – including our neighbours in the Pacific. Climate change has a disproportionate effect on developing countries, which are least equipped to protect themselves from the impacts, while harming food supplies and threatening to reverse progress on the Millennium Development Goals.

New Zealand's per capita emissions are the 11th highest globally – we have a moral responsibility to do our fair share in cutting emissions and helping vulnerable communities, especially those in the Pacific.

Oxfam's 2011 climate change election debates are an opportunity for the public to engage with representatives from our largest parties on their vision for the future.

The debate will feature electronic “clickers” that allow the audience to vote in real time on responses by each candidate. Questions for candidates are being taken in advance via http://oxf.am/4ar.

Other climate-concerned groups in New Zealand will be participating in the debate and are available for comment.

Dr Scott Metcalfe, Co-Convenor OraTaiao: NZ Climate & Health (doctors for climate action) said: “The top priority of the new government must be rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions because climate change is the leading threat to health.”

Generation Zero spokesperson, Chelsea Robinson, said ‘We, as young people, understand that the old roads lead to nowhere; climate change is an urgent threat to our future and this election will ingrain politics as usual or set us up for a new direction of hope.’

WWF calls on the New Zealand Government for a stronger response to climate change. “Protecting our economy, our international reputation and the global environment has never been more important. Do our next political leaders understand the urgency and the opportunity for New Zealand in contributing to lowering global emissions, and will they grasp the enormous benefits for New Zealand jobs and prosperity from the emerging low carbon global economy?”

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