Roadshow In Queenstown And Whangarei

Press Release – Extinction Rebellion

The Election Roadshow for Climate, an initiative of Extinction Rebellion (XR) supported by Aotearoa Climate Emergency (ACE), is well on its way to put climate and ecological change at the forefront of this election.

The Roadshow, which started concurrently from Bluff and Cape Reinga yesterday, is promoting three election issues: the declaration of a national climate emergency; a Citizens’ Assembly on climate next year; and a green post-COVID-19 economic recovery plan.

In Queenstown, activists gathered at the iconic Cardrona Hotel to hear Jim Salinger speak about glacier retreat in the Queenstown Lakes area, as well as his involvement in the New Zealand Intergenerational Climate Ambassadors, a group representing all generations including the Solid Generation (pre 1946), Baby Boomers, GenX, Millennials and Centennials. The group is calling on the next Government to accelerate climate action.

The Election Roadshow for Climate at Cardrona Hotel

“The climate crisis is major, global, and perpetual – until we do something about it,” says Jim. “Since the late nineteenth century the white icing that has capped Queenstown-Lakes and Southern Alps has been rapidly disappearing. There once was about 120 cubic kilometres of Aoteoroa – Land of the Long White Cloud. But alas Aoteoroa is fast becoming Aoteopoto – Land of the Short White Cloud! By 2019 we only have about 30 cubic kilometres remaining of permanent ice – this disappearing ice represents a mere quarter of the former glory of the Southern Alps. The last two heatwave summers gauged and burnt off a huge amount of this ice.”

In Whangarei, the North Island contingent of the roadshow interviewed local resident and environmental activist Catherine Murupaenga-Ikenn about her concerns for the future of Northland. Catherine belongs to Te Rarawa Ngati Kuri peoples of the Far North of the North Island and her career has seen her working on policy analysis, environmental defence policy andindigenous rights advocacy with the United Nations.

“The climate emergency has to be the biggest problem that humanity is facing right now,” said Catherine. “For our communities this means instability, it means water insecurity, it means food insecurity and disruption to society. A lot of people are concerned with employment and jobs, but without a habitable environment jobs become a moot point. There’s a lot of mahi to be done; building community resilience, civic reform to keep our elected officials accountable, education of the issues, and social injustice to address.”

Catherine is concerned for the future of Northland.

“We are experiencing storms that are meant to be one in 500 year events more and more frequently, more like every five or ten years. And these storms come after months of drought. We have to adapt to this as the new normal. On top of this the agricultural industry has depleted the health of our soils and as a result the nutritional value of our food is declining. Things are all happening at once. We have to get back into balance with Nature.”

Catherine has expressed her support for the idea of a Citizens’ Assembly.

“The Citizens’ Assembly is a good tool to allow people to influence political decision making in between elections. It has to be a system that complies with Te Tiriti o Waitangi standards. We have to think about what’s fair and equitable for everyone to participate in the conversation moving forward and building solutions for the climate crisis.”

The roadshow continues today in Auckland in the North and Dunedin in the South.

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