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MPs Pull Plug on Dinosaur Climate Change Thinking
Messages from thousands of New Zealanders who want progress on building a low carbon economy were delivered to Parliament today by youth climate action group Generation Zero.
The group also brought a five-metre high dinosaur to the steps of Parliament symbolising what the group calls “New Zealand’s dinosaur climate change policies”.
They were met by a number of Members of Parliament including Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, Labour’s climate change spokesperson Moana Mackey and transport spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway, and New Zealand First’s associate climate change and transport spokesperson Denis O’Rourke. Representatives from other parties were invited but said they were unavailable.
The MPs pulled the plug on the giant dinosaur, causing it to deflate and collapse.
The messages being delivered were in the form of ‘I will if you will’ pledge cards collected on Generation Zero’s recent nationwide speaking tour, ‘What’s the Holdup?’, which visited 14 centres from Dunedin to Whangarei to outline how New Zealand can build a low-carbon future.
They included personal commitments such as "I will sell my car and take the bus", "I will keep my business in NZ" and "I will vote for you", which people are prepared to make if elected leaders stop building uneconomic new motorways and instead invest the money in a low carbon future.
“We’re bringing a clear signal from thousands of New Zealanders that they want our elected leaders to get on with building a low carbon economy,” says Generation Zero spokesperson Maddy Foreman.
“New Zealand is rich with opportunities to build a thriving low-carbon economy but is being held back by the prehistoric thinking of a Government that seems to have its head in the sand.”
“Examples of this outdated and short-sighted approach include spending the majority of the transport budget on questionable ‘Roads of National Significance’, letting the carbon price crash to virtually zero, supporting and subsidising fossil fuel companies, and now, setting a completely inadequate 2020 emissions target.”
The Government has recently committed New Zealand to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to five percent below 1990 levels by the year 2020.
“Advice from the leading climate change scientists suggests countries like New Zealand should be reducing their emissions by up to 40 per cent below 1990 levels if we want to keep global warming to the globally agreed limit of two degrees,” says Miss Foreman.
“The response from our Government is woeful and shameful, compared to what other countries, particularly those in Europe, are doing.
“Our message to all political parties ahead of next year’s election is to get with the times, ditch the dinosaur policies and form a comprehensive low carbon strategy that we can be proud of as a nation.”
“We were pleased to hear solid commitments from the Greens, Labour and New Zealand First to strengthen New Zealand’s climate change response, if elected next year.”
About Generation Zero:
An organisation of young New Zealanders promoting solutions to climate change through smart transport, clean energy and healthy liveable cities.