Criminologists want tougher penalties for NZ climate polluters – Roger Brooking


Criminology graduates and a senior criminology lecturer at VUW are calling for the Climate Change Amendment Bill currently before Parliament to be totally transformed so that it reflects the reality that the world is facing an existential crisis.

Graduates taking CRIM 417 (an Honours level course called Crimes against the Environment) and Course Coordinator, Dr Sarah Monod de Froideville, have crafted a comprehensive submission to Parliament. The criminologists are calling for the name of the Bill to be changed to the Climate Crisis Response Bill and the Climate Change Commission proposed in the Bill to be called the Climate Crisis Commission.

The submission is supported by Ollie Langridge who has been conducting a one-man protest outside Parliament for the last two months calling on the Government to declare a climate emergency.

The submission also recommends that strategies adopted by Parliament based on the Commission’s recommendations should be made compulsory – with financial penalties for industries, agencies and individuals who fail to comply.

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Finally, the criminologists are suggesting that regulatory impact statements (RIS) for all future legislation proposed by Parliament, relating to any matter whatsoever, should be required to describe the likely contribution of any new policies, procedures or regulations (resulting from the proposed legislation) to future greenhouse gas emissions.

This would ensure that in the future, Parliament would be required to take the climate crisis into consideration with every single Bill that comes before it. So, for instance, if the Government wanted to build a new prison at a likely cost of $1 billion, it would need to produce a regulatory impact statement describing how much carbon dioxide building and operating such a prison would emit. In other words, it would need to be sure that a new prison was compatible with the goal to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Another example is that it would require the Government to justify decisions such as giving $50 million to Te Papa (as announced in the budget for 2019) when the building will likely suffer irreparable damage from rising seas by the end of the century.


  1. This is innovative and brilliant thinking and one can only hope that the NZ Vice Chancellors who are trying to meddlesomely interfere with academic freedom in university research don’t put the kibosh on it. Odd things happen.

  2. It is common sense to look hard at consequences of actions whether they be past, present of planned ahead.

    Wellington CBD will be inundated by sea level rise and storm surge well before the”turn or the century” fuzzy timeline. A data becomes we need a timeline of sea level rise that is more definitive and may err on the side of the precautionary principle.

    The WCC have had this sea level rise information applying to the CBD for several years but no plans or policies have been implemented or even formulated to stop the present intensification of construction on the extensive reclaimed area and nearby low lying terrain.

    Total denial seems to be where the WCC is at.

    I suspect it is a similar situation for most coastal cites, town and facilities.

    Business NZ seems to have no interest in sea level rise but is a strong driver for contributing to massive use of cement and building in sea level rise flood plains such as the Wgtn CBD

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