Cross-party consensus on climate change critical says Climate and Health Council
Senior NZ health professionals welcome recent policy announcements on climate change by major political parties, saying cross-party consensus is critical to address this leading health issue.
The Labour Party policy, announced on Sunday, includes commitment to introduce legislation for an independent Climate Commission, and a formal carbon budgeting process to ensure New Zealand achieves ‘significant emissions reduction targets’.
This follows the Green Party ‘Climate Protection Plan’ released in June which outlined a specific, fair and realistic plan to curb our greenhouse gas pollution.
“We are pleased to see the Labour Party policy acknowledge the severe public health impacts of climate change” says Dr Alex Macmillan, acting co-convenor of the New Zealand Climate and Health Council. “Those that will be hardest hit in New Zealand will include Maori, Pacific people, children, the elderly, and low income groups. Ensuring policies that put a substantial price on carbon support a just transition for these groups as well as achieving the necessary emissions reductions will be crucial” says Dr Macmillan.
“We would also like to see recognition that addressing climate change brings exciting opportunities to improve health and fairness in New Zealand” says Dr Macmillan.
“Housing insulation, better diets, clean energy, great public transport and safer walking and cycle-ways will all give a double benefit. They give immediate health benefits, especially to New Zealand's poorest families, and also lead the way on reducing greenhouse gas emissions” says Dr Macmillan.
“Successfully addressing climate change requires cross-party consensus and reliable signals to industry and society. With great opportunities for health gains and health sector savings for New Zealanders, a healthy response to our changing climate is the obvious choice for all political parties wanting to govern.” ends Dr Macmillan.