Dear Mr Robertson, this is what you missed on Earth Day

This is our fourth letter to Grant Robertson, the Minister of Finance.

Good day, Mr Robertson

Thank you for your response to our letter dated 12 April, with your apology and good wishes for our Earth Day action on 22 April.

You missed some thoughtful and inspiring speeches on the day:

Wellington City councillor Tamatha Paul’s opening address voiced a need for a change in mind-set by all of us, to combat climate change.

Freshwater ecologist Mike Joy reminded us that New Zealand’s Overshoot Day in 2022 was already reached in April, compared to 2021 when it was in May, and explained why the concept of “net zero” is tantamount to greenwashing.

At their offices on The Terrace, Paul Bruce from Guardians of the Bays addressed the Wellington City Council (represented by Iona Pannett). He explained how the council’s net zero emissions goal is in direct contrast with the Airport’s (of which the WCC owns one third) plans to extend the runway to accommodate twice as many tourists flying into Wellington by 2040.

Alana Kane from 350 Aotearoa spoke about the crucial need to ban fossil fuel use in the State sector (hospitals, schools and prisons). Two college students who helped raise awareness of gas boilers in their school, asked for greater support and more accessible for schools to switch to renewable energy. Together at Parliament they presented a petition (with 19,000 signatures!) to Jan Logie and James Shaw.

Francesca Pouwer from Fridays For Future Wellington spoke of the political will needed to make the necessary changes to protect the planet and people before profit.

Caz Sheldon from Action XR spoke about a pathway of eight challenges for government to take on board to divert the worst of the evolving climate crisis. One key element is to stop prioritising corporate opinions in policy making.

Alex Dyer from Picnics in (car) Parks talked of degrowth, emphasising that replacing fossil fuels with EV’s is not a long-term solution.

In other words, Mr Robertson, all those who spoke are in support of bold climate action. Our nation’s climate action so far is rated as ‘‘highly insufficient’ on the International Climate Tracker.

We urge you to develop a budget on 19 May 2022 that will improve our track record in Aotearoa.

Because you could not be present on the day, we want to send you a copy of our Seven Calls for Action, and a link to Francesca Pouwer’s speech on behalf of Fridays for Future Wellington.

Link to the speech

Download the Seven calls for action to protect planet and people over planet

We would appreciate your taking some time to read our seven calls for action, especially the last one which is to commit to a green oath. A green oath is fundamental to green (sustainable) economic growth – an economic system which respects and cares for people and nature.

Yours sincerely

Violet Chong and Francesca Pouwer on behalf of Fridays for Future Te Upoko / Wellington