Calling for formal cross-party partnership to protect children from further climate breakdown.
An Open Letter to our elected leaders petitioning for a formal Memorandum of Understanding between all political parties in Parliament to continue cross party partnership on climate mitigation.
New Zealand Labour Party, New Zealand National Party, New Zealand First, Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, ACT New Zealand.
Dear Elected Leaders of Aotearoa New Zealand,
Congratulations on collectively passing the Zero Carbon Bill into law through working collaboratively and for the greater good of all New Zealanders and our Pacific Island neighbours. We believe it is vital this Parliamentary collaboration for the greater good continues. Therefore, we call for a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between all political parties in Parliament requiring them to continue their cross-party actions and work in partnership on climate mitigation.
This MOU includes but is not limited to the following:
- To protect children’s right to a safe and healthy life, New Zealand needs to act now to cut our greenhouse emissions consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 degrees. This is our responsibility under the Paris Agreement, and we want cross-partisanship to urgently accelerate these actions in order to provide jobs and protect food, water and homes for young generations. This means acting from the best science available.
- Te Tiriti, children and the most vulnerable in our communities must be centred in any decision-making process to ensure a just transition. This includes working with and learning from tangata whenua on how to create a fair and equitable transition. Te Tiriti must underpin any cross-partisan agreement.
- We want to see any existing and future National Adaptation Plans and Emissions Reduction Plans be legally enforceable, including meeting our Te Tiriti obligations. Partnering not only with scientists and policy experts but also with tangata whenua, youth and other affected people in this process.
- Parliament to continue working in partnership with Pacific leaders on supporting and advancing their climate adaptation plans and to ensure we uphold our obligations under the Paris Agreement to advance indigenous and human rights.
- Parliament to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels which includes the following: Ceasing all exploration and extraction of fossil fuels in New Zealand and not granting any extensions to existing permits. This means working on strengthening and improving transport systems, making alternative transport affordable and investing more in renewable energy. For example, remove fringe benefit tax on electric vehicles to appeal to corporate fleets and create a second-hand market for the general public.
- Parliament to divert investment and subsidies in fossil fuel industries into reinvesting in other more viable climate friendly industries and create pathways for secure transitions for current fossil fuel industry employees. This will include prioritising retraining and new employment opportunities to ensure no one is left behind.
- Parliament to work with and support financially and otherwise, the rural community in good faith to support all farms to use current best practice that mitigates climate change impacts and results in New Zealand’s food and fresh water security as quickly as possible. Rural communities face significant challenges including well-being, which must be met by collaboration across all sectors, society and led by parliament, with crucial on farm support to take up existing and new sustainable practice opportunities to continue New Zealand's world leading status in a new era of food production.
- Allow the independent Climate Change Commission to recommend targets for GHG emissions and ensure all advice by the Commission is transparently recorded alongside any climate related legislation.
- Establish a Citizens’ Assembly or similar to make recommendations to Parliament on a national plan of action to mitigate climate change.
- New political parties entering Parliament recognise the significance of continuing work on climate mitigation and commit to entering the MOU.
- All the above is agreed to by a Memorandum of Understanding between parties to ensure successive governments live up to their commitment to working in cross party partnership to reduce the increasing effects of climate change on all groups including younger generations.
Why do we want to see this happen?
We are parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, wider whanau and people who care about the world our children and all children will grow into. The 20th November is the UN Universal Children’s Day, which is the successor to the 1959 UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child to which New Zealand is a signatory. This commits us to protect the rights of all children to health and safety. Our elected leaders have a duty of care to our people now and to the future our children will grow into.
We need this Memorandum of Understanding to:
- Set out a transparent agreement between all parties that the climate crisis must have continued cross party collaboration moving forward.
- Allow the political leaders of Aotearoa New Zealand to commit to work together to protect younger generations from the worst effects of climate breakdown.
- Ensure we follow the science, strengthen support to Parliament through increasing the powers of the Independent Commission on Climate Change and establish a Citizen’s Assembly or similar to support Parliament to developing a cross party national plan of action to mitigate climate change impacts on our children.
- Honour the Paris Agreement we have signed and leave no one behind in a just transition, including those impacted by changes in farming and loss of employment in fossil fuel industries.
- Ensure we work in partnership between the Crown and Māori and honour the Treaty in ways that will share knowledge, innovation and decision making from all spheres of Aotearoa New Zealand.
- Help our Parliament form strong binding policies and develop trust with all New Zealanders that successive governments will continue to progress climate mitigation and reducing our emissions to net zero without delay.
- Enable our political leaders to create a different vision for upcoming generations and ensure New Zealand continues to be a world leader in positive change.
We must all roll up our sleeves and work together at all levels of our society from our neighbourhoods, towns, cities, local councils and up to Parliament.
Our country has a history of stepping up and doing what is needed and inspiring other countries by our example, and we hope that will continue.
Alicia Hall and Millions of Mothers