• Update the Advertising Standards Code for a Carbon Zero 2050
    The popularity of light utility vehicles and SUVs continues to be on the rise, driven by advertising. Why is this an issue? Well, such vehicles are heavier, often have diesel engines and are less fuel-efficient, therefore meaning that increased sales of them compared to lighter vehicles is linked directly to greater emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants across the globe. Climate change and declining air quality are crises we must address urgently. To prevent them from further threatening public health, we should be encouraging behaviours that ensure a safe future for our descendents on this planet. At the least we should be encouraging the uptake of fuel-efficient or zero-emission forms of transport, rather than the opposite. There are a multitude of similarly profitable, alternative products (take electric utes for example) that manufacturers can produce instead that would help meet Aotearoa’s goal of reducing net emissions of all greenhouse gases (except biogenic methane) to zero by 2050, so therefore there is no valid reason for harmful goods to be promoted positively through advertising. To hold vehicle producers socially responsible and thereby pursue a healthier future for the planet and all people, we are asking for just one small regulation to be added to the Advertising Standards Code. Notes: This petition ask is based on a recommendation made in both a UK study by Boyle et al. (2021) and a study by Woodward, Wisniewski and Wild presented to the Transportation 2021 Conference. 8 of the top 10 best-selling new vehicles in Aotearoa are light trucks (utes and SUVs). https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2021/06/02/the-rise-of-the-urban-light-truck-what-to-do-about-it/ Photo credit: https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2021/06/02/the-rise-of-the-urban-light-truck-what-to-do-about-it/
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  • Public Submission: Save the Denniston Plateau from opencast coal mining
    The Department of Conservation has begun its review and reclassification of the status of its “stewardship land”, starting on the West Coast. This includes the Denniston Plateau, which has already been partially destroyed by the mothballed Bathurst Resources’ Escarpment coal mine. The rest of the plateau is of high conservation value, and it, along with nearby Deep Creek, also contains some of the last unmined coking coal measures in the country, with mining permits held by BT Mining - a company set up by Bathurst Resources and Talley’s. Bathurst recently had to close a coal mine in Canterbury because it had breached so many consents. The coal mining industry wants these areas to be classified “Conservation Park”, which is the current recommendation, but in the words of mining lobby group Minerals West Coast: “Some reclassification categories - such as "conservation park", would still allow for mining under existing legislation.” Right now, the draft classifications for these areas are indeed only for "Conservation Park". The Denniston Plateau contains a unique sandstone plateau and rare wetlands, full of endangered and endemic creatures like our giant snail and the unique Avatar Moth, found nowhere else in the world. Also present are the great spotted kiwi and fern birds, and a rare skink found nowhere else, along with a giant snail. Experience in this part of the world shows us that any claims by a coal company that they will “rehabilitate” the land after mining are empty promises. These unique areas would be destroyed, the streams polluted, and the animals in them gone. The world is moving away from coal. We are in the midst of a climate emergency and we must protect our most precious areas both from the impacts of climate change - and from being dug up for coal that will only increase emissions at a time when we need to reduce them. ⏩ BELOW is the public submission to sign onto: Dear Panel members West Coast, The three areas we are concerned about all sit atop considerable coal measures, coal that if burned would contribute to climate change, at a time when governments around the world are attempting to reduce emissions to get the world onto a 1.5˚C warming pathway. We note the government’s Emission Reduction Plan (ERP) specifically refers to “working with nature” to help reduce emissions as part of solving our climate crisis: “Looking after these forests is one of the most important contributions Aotearoa can make to combating global climate change. We also have a significant opportunity to develop native forests that both act as long-term carbon sinks and support biodiversity…” ★ We therefore strongly recommend a much stronger protection regime for the following areas: 🌏 1. Kaw_10 - Waimangaroa - Granity This area contains Deep Creek, a highly biodiverse area, with coal measures under the land. Given the main habitat of the Powelliphanta augustus was obliterated by the Stockton Mine, and rehabilitation efforts have failed, and the majority of the remainder of this species are still living in fridges, it is absolutely critical to preserve, in perpetuity, this last remaining habitat of this critically endangered species. The very nature of the DOC description: “high ecological values” and “overwhelmingly natural and largely intact” brings into question its lowly recommended classification of Conservation Park. A scientific reserve would preserve this area in perpetuity, especially as it would preclude the area from being stripped bare in an opencast coal mine. We therefore recommend that this be classified as an ecological area (under Part 4, S21 of the Conservation Act) with a scientific reserve on the remainder of the Stockton Plateau (sandstone pavement) including Upper Deep Creek/Whirlwind Creek (under Part 3, S21 of the Reserves Act) 🌏 2. Kaw_17-Mount Rochfort, Old Denniston School Site Again, we consider the recommendation of “Conservation Park” is in contradiction to the high biodiversity values of the area. The great spotted kiwi and weka are both found here, along with the Avatar Moth, a species unknown anywhere else in the world, and only identified in 2012. It is also home to the Denniston skink, another species found nowhere else, and the giant snail Powelliphanta Patrickensis We consider this biodiverse area must be protected, not least from being stripped bare by a coal mine, which would likely render at least some of these species extinct. The Denniston plateau contains valuable wetland peatland areas found nowhere else. Not only should they be protected from coal mining, but we note the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan specifically points to a strategy of wetland and biodiversity protection as part of our climate strategy and to protect them as valuable carbon sinks. We recommend that the Denniston plateau component be declared a Scientific Reserve and that the remainder be classified as an ecological area. We also recommend that the Old Denniston School area be declared as an Historic Reserve (under Part 3, S18 Reserves Act) 🌏 3. KAW_26 - Ballarat Again, we find it odd the recommended classification is only "Conservation Park", given the “high landscape and ecological value” supporting “rare and distinct species.” We recommend that Conservation Area Ballarat be classified as an ecological area. Lastly, and importantly, we also make a wider recommendation that the Government changes our legislation covering these areas: the Reserves Act, the Conservation Act, and the National Parks Act, so they all honour and respect Te Tiriti O Waitangi - the Treaty of Waitangi. Such changes should reflect the rights of Māori to be able to access these areas for cultural purposes such as mahinga kai and medicinal plants for rongoā - without having to seek permission. Ngā mihi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByRGSD_ijh4
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  • Open submission: Refuse Beach Energy Drilling Consent
    Aotearoa is the global seabird capital and home to over half of the world’s marine mammal species. The South Taranaki Bight is a hot spot, hosting six endangered species, one vulnerable species and 18 other species of marine mammals with too little data to even assess. We also have a genetically distinct Blue whale population in the Bight. Kororā, the Little penguin sometimes travel here all the way from Marlborough Sounds to feed. Fossil fuel mining threatens entire marine ecosystems and contributes to ocean acidification and deoxygenation. There are also risks to kai moana and other traditional food gathering on the coast. Drilling and discharging harmful substances in such an important area is irresponsible. Beach Energy Resources NZ (Kupe) Limited has lodged applications with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for a marine consent and a marine discharge consent for activities associated with development drilling of up to two wells at the existing Kupe Wellhead Platform some 30km off Manaia, South Taranaki. Climate Justice Taranaki is making a submission to request the consents be declined. 🔥 Critically, we are in a climate emergency. Getting off fossil fuels is crucial. There is no excuse to drill for more oil or gas when the window for reducing emissions to minimise climate catastrophes is closing. We need to reduce our energy demand fast and transition onto sustainable renewable energy instead. It is ludicrous that the current EEZ regulations do not allow the consideration of impacts on the climate from proposed activities. We are requesting the EPA Board of Inquiry to refuse all of Beach Energy's consent applications associated with its planned drilling program at the Kupe field. Please join us.
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  • Don’t delay New Zealand’s insulation standards
    Making our homes cosy, snug places by improving their insulation will help to improve our health, reduce household bills, and slash carbon pollution. Yet despite these huge benefits – which will help keep homes warm and the climate cool – government officials are right now considering delaying planned moves to increase insulation standards after being lobbied by a minority within the building industry. If government officials at MBIE are swayed by these voices calling for a delay, this could saddle 40,000 Kiwi households with higher household bills. And this is happening at a time when the costs of living are increasing. What’s also increasing is the planet’s temperature. And there’s a raft of ways in which we can – together – tackle this. One of the key ways highlighted in the recent report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is to make our homes and buildings cosier by improving insulation. The cheapest and cleanest energy is the energy you don’t use. Improved insulation means using much less energy, and it means warmer homes. Plus, installing insulation is much, much easier to do than it is to build a huge piece of energy infrastructure like a new power station. The government have been preparing to introduce improved insulation standards in November this year. They ran a consultation last year that garnered massive support for increasing insulation, and for doing so quickly. 98 per cent of responses backed improved insulation – and improving it in the shortest time possible. For anyone who wants our homes to be cosy, warm and healthy places, where families build memories, laugh, cry and eat together, where families can look forward to a low carbon, cleaner Aotearoa, these simple insulation changes will be warmly welcomed. However MBIE have lent their ear to the pro-cold home lobby voices urging delay, and are considering postponing the improvements by a whole year. It’s now time for James Shaw, the minister of climate change to step in, and make sure these insulation standards are not delayed.
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  • Otago Regional Council: Phase Out Synthetic Nitrogen Fertiliser
    Synthetic nitrogenous fertiliser should be banned because: 1) It pollutes our rivers and lakes 2) It allows the establishment and growth of intensive dairy farming in inappropriate places in Otago 3) It causes the release of nitrous oxide, one of the worst greenhouse gases 4) There is evidence nitrates cause bowel cancer 5) It is degrading the natural health of our soils Our once-safe drinking water is being contaminated. Everyone needs safe drinking water and clean swimmable rivers. Too many cows made possible by too much chemical fertiliser are polluting the once pristine rivers and lakes of the Central Otago. Agriculture causes 48% of all our greenhouse gas emissions and overloads our rivers with synthetic nitrogen in the form of nitrates. The 2019 report The Hidden Killer, compiled by the world’s leading climate scientists, documents the impacts of wealthy countries failing to make the changes needed to ensure liveable futures. New Zealand’s circumstances require us to tackle our biggest polluter, industrial dairy farming. Current research shows a strong link between nitrates in drinking water and babies being born underweight or prematurely.[1] Chronic exposure to drinking water containing more than 0.88 mg/L of nitrogen in the form of nitrates has been linked to colorectal cancers.[2] Synthetic nitrogenous fertiliser is mostly sold here by just two companies; Ravensdown and Ballance. Industrial dairying is their biggest customer by far. A transition away from industrial livestock farming and mass milk production is essential. A ban on synthetic nitrogenous fertiliser and a nationwide shift to more plant-based regenerative organic farming is urgent and essential. Our Regional Council has the responsibility for environmental management, monitoring, enforcement and compliance, and has the power to end synthetic nitrogenous fertiliser use. We call on the ORC to put te Mana o te Wai (the integrity of the waters) first, so that all other objectives in the Regional Policy Statement are informed by the priority to care for water and keep it healthy. Synthetic nitrogenous fertiliser use is incompatible with te Mana o te Wai. Join the call! Add your name today to demand our Councillors immediately put in place a swift, fair phaseout of synthetic nitrogenous fertiliser. Free mail-in nitrate water testing for drinking water, from private bores only: https://petition.act.greenpeace.org.nz/agriculture-nitrate-testing-request Image: Geoff Reid https://geoffreidnz.com References 1 - Link between nitrate levels and premature births, study finds, 2021https://bit.ly/3vacKKK 2 - Report: The hidden killer, 2019. How synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is fuelling intensive dairying, polluting our rivers and climate. https://www.greenpeace.org/static/planet4-aotearoa-stateless/2019/09/8130950a-greenpeace-synthetic-nitrogen-fertiliser-briefing.pdf
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  • Phase out synthetic nitrogen fertiliser - Southland
    Synthetic nitrogenous fertiliser should be banned because: 🌏 It pollutes our rivers and lakes 🌏 It is responsible for the growth of intensive, unsustainable farming 🌏 It causes the release of nitrous oxide, one of the worst greenhouse gases 🌏 It is a likely cause of bowel cancer 🌏 It is degrading the natural health of our soils Everyone deserves safe drinking water and clean rivers to swim in. But too many cows, and too much chemical fertiliser, are rapidly polluting the rivers, lakes and drinking water we should all be able to enjoy and rely on. The agriculture sector is currently Aotearoa New Zealand’s biggest polluter, causing 48% of all our greenhouse gas emissions, and overloading our rivers with synthetic nitrogen in the form of nitrates (nitrogen). Southland’s cow numbers have increased by 16 times since 1990, from 38,000 to 636,000 and according to Stats NZ we have nationally increased the tonnes of nitrogen fertiliser applied to farmland per annum by 629 per cent from 1991 to now (from 62,000 tonnes to 452,000 tonnes). Our once clean rivers and lakes are increasingly polluted. Our once-safe drinking water is being contaminated. A 2019 report found nitrate was the contaminant with the highest risk ranking in Southland’s groundwater. Growing research is showing a strong link between nitrate in drinking water and babies being born underweight or prematurely.(1,2) Chronic exposure is associated with formation of carcinogenic nitroso compounds in the gastrointestinal tract. Chronic exposure through drinking water containing > 0.88 mg/L (as nitrate-N) has recently been linked to colorectal cancers. (1,2) It’s shocking that Southland has to build a Charity Hospital to deal with the large number of colonoscopies needed by people from across Murihiku Southland which the current Southland Hospital does not have the capacity to deal with. Synthetic nitrogenous fertiliser is mostly sold here by just two companies; Ravensdown and Ballance have industrial dairying as their biggest customer by far. A transition away from industrial livestock farming and mass milk production is required. It starts with an urgent ban on synthetic nitrogenous fertiliser, and a nationwide shift to more plant-based regenerative organic farming. Our Regional Council has the responsibility for environmental management, monitoring, enforcement and compliance, and has the power to end synthetic nitrogenous fertiliser use. Join the call! Add your name today to demand our Councillors cut synthetic nitrogenous fertiliser. Also you can request free nitrate testing for private bores if you wish to have peace of mind that your own water supply is safe: https://petition.act.greenpeace.org.nz/agriculture-nitrate-testing-request References 1 - Link between nitrate levels and premature births, study finds, 2021 https://bit.ly/3vacKKK 2 - Human health risks associated with contaminants in Southland waters, 2019 https://bit.ly/3sjB5f2 3 - Report: The hidden killer, 2019. How synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is fuelling intensive dairying, polluting our rivers and climate. https://www.greenpeace.org/static/planet4-aotearoa-stateless/2019/09/8130950a-greenpeace-synthetic-nitrogen-fertiliser-briefing.pdf
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  • Cut synthetic nitrogen fertiliser
    Together we are facing enormous challenges to our local ecosystems and climate. Our food production systems need to be resilient and sustainable to guarantee a long term future. Everyone deserves to swim in clean rivers and have safe drinking water. But too many cows and too much chemical fertiliser is rapidly polluting the rivers, lakes and drinking water we should all be able to enjoy and rely on. The agriculture sector is currently Aotearoa New Zealand’s biggest polluter, causing 48% of all our greenhouse gas emissions, and overloading our rivers with nitrate nitrogen. Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is the key ingredient that has intensified agriculture in Aotearoa, in particular dairy farming. Since 1990, dairy cow numbers have doubled. The addition of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser on the land has increased seven-fold. Dairy farmers spread synthetic nitrogen fertiliser onto farmland in vast quantities because in the short term it’s an easy way to make grass and other crops grow fast. Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is a double whammy for the climate. Its use enables increasing numbers of cows on the land, which increases methane gas emissions from burps, and more nitrous oxide emissions from manure and urine. Nitrous oxide is one of the most dangerous greenhouse gases. It’s 265 times worse for trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is mostly sold here by just two companies; Ravensdown and Ballance and industrial dairying is their biggest customer by far. Besides our climate, our once clean rivers and lakes are increasingly polluted. When nitrogen gets into rivers and lakes it can cause algal blooms which can suck all the oxygen out of the water, suffocating fish and other species. Our once-safe drinking water is becoming contaminated. Entire freshwater ecosystems are being pushed past breaking point. We are on the brink of losing native freshwater species forever. A transition away from industrial livestock farming and mass milk production is required. It starts with an urgent ban on synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, and a nationwide shift to more plant-based regenerative organic farming. Regenerative organic farming is a way of growing food that works with nature. Instead of using synthetic nitrogen regenerative farmers use nitrogen fixing plants and put their effort into building healthy soil. They farm a diverse mix of crop and animal varieties, and use methods like cover cropping, inter-cropping, agro-forestry, and no-till techniques. Together, we can move towards regenerative organic farming. But first, we need to starve Big Ag of its key ingredient. The Government has set new rules for fresh water which limit the amount of nitrogen fertiliser farmers can use, but still leave the limit too high. Our Regional Council has the responsibility for environmental management, monitoring, enforcement and compliance, and has the power to cut synthetic nitrogen fertiliser use. Join the call! Add your name today to demand our Councillors cut synthetic nitrogen fertiliser. https://www.instagram.com/cutsnfcanterbury/ Report: The hidden killer, 2019. How synthetic nitrogen fertiliser is fuelling intensive dairying, polluting our rivers and climate. https://www.greenpeace.org/static/planet4-aotearoa-stateless/2019/09/8130950a-greenpeace-synthetic-nitrogen-fertiliser-briefing.pdf Agriculture emissions and climate change 2021 https://environment.govt.nz/guides/agriculture-emissions-climate-change/ Why New Zealand has to cut synthetic nitrogen fertiliser https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arc73-E5W9M The Regenerators https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKMM2b6srIg
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