In response to the New Zealand government’s move to declare a climate emergency, Oxfam New Zealand’s Campaigns Lead Alex Johnston said:
“It’s significant to see the New Zealand government formally recognise the urgency of our climate crisis, and we hope this symbolic step heralds swift and just climate action here and on the world stage.
“As the Prime Minister has acknowledged herself, what’s important is to follow through with the required ambition and policy measures. New Zealand has talked a big game about tackling climate change, but we still have a long way to go in achieving results.
“It’s also crucial that urgent climate action goes hand in hand with a just and inclusive process that centres historically marginalised groups including Māori, Pacific and disabled communities. An emergency response that side-lines people’s rights will not advance the cause of climate justice.
“To meet the climate crisis with the urgency required, Oxfam is calling on the New Zealand government to significantly enhance our 2030 target to reduce emissions under the Paris agreement alongside the domestic policies to meet it, and to immediately double our funding of climate action in frontline and developing countries.
“These measures will take us closer to our fair share of climate finance and closer to pulling our weight in the effort to keep global heating to less than 1.5 degrees.
“It’s inexcusable that our country is one of the few industrialised nations in the world where net emissions have kept going up since 1990 – and that trajectory is not going to change much on current policy. We are also one of the lowest contributors per capita in climate finance for communities on the frontlines.
“Across the world, and with around 1 degree of global heating, climate change is already fuelling deadly cyclones, huge locust swarms that have devastated crops, and unprecedented heatwaves and wildfires. No one is immune, but it is the poorest and most marginalised people who are hardest hit.
“We must act, and act quickly, to overcome this challenge as a global community. We look forward to seeing more ambitious action from our government – including doing our fair share for the communities on the frontlines.”