Open letter to NZ Parliament

Hundreds of the world’s top climate experts have collectively stated that we need unprecedented societal change within the next ten years in order to avoid catastrophic climate change. We must bear this in mind as we rebuild NZ out of the Covid 19 lockdown. Billions of dollars are at your disposal for ‘shovel ready’ infrastructure projects that will either contribute to Aotearoa’s environmental, social and cultural needs or will continue to fund the dysfunctional status quo; further entrenching heavy-emitting infrastructure. We need a purposeful decision to invest in building a better, fairer, regenerative future.

It is imperative that this public money does not end up in the hands of industries known to harm the environment and contribute to climate change. Instead, use this as an opportunity to start implementing a just transition away from fossil fuels. The Stockton Mine is currently not running due to lockdown and is relying on government money to stay afloat. We strongly encourage you to keep this mine closed and assist the 250 workers to transition into alternative employment. We also urge you to implement, as soon as possible:

  • A plan for a just transition to retrain all workers in the coal mining sector
  • A moratorium on new coal mines, as advised by Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton
  • A policy for no new mines on conservation land
  • A fast phase out of coal boilers in schools, hospitals, and industrial dairy; instead utilising wood chip boilers and increased insulation and energy efficiency measures
  • Provide funds for farming communities to transition away from intensive dairy (a heavy user of industrial coal) to regenerative practises

The economic Covid response must align with the phaseout of coal mining and burning in NZ. Considering what we know about climate change, and respecting the national and international agreements painstakingly signed on to, a future in coal mining is clearly unviable.

Recent research from Lawyers for Climate Action NZ has shown that there is a legal imperative for climate change to be a core consideration in determining the post-Covid 19 stimulus spending. Now is the time to redesign society and move toward a future which works within planetary boundaries. Decisions made now in terms of “shovel ready” projects will have enormous repercussions on future climate stability and local resilience to climate impacts. This is the time for bold and innovative decisions. The response to COVID-19 will set the legacy for this government in the lead up to the election.

We thank you for the time and consideration you give our views. Now is the opportunity to demonstrate to voters that you are listening to our calls for equity, resilience, and a sustainable future for all.

Yours sincerely,

Coal Action Network Aotearoa 

About Coal Action Network Aotearoa

Coal Action Network Aotearoa is an Incorporated Society with a goal of no new coal mines in Aotearoa, and to have all coal mines closed down by 2027 (when most of the current permits expire), specifically because of coal’s contribution to climate change.