While the White House has declared the health impacts of climate change “one of the gravest threats” to America, at least one New Zealand health board is denying evidence global warming will have any impact on human health at all, the Green Party says.
A survey of District Health Boards (DHBs) by the Green Party found that almost half had incomplete or inadequate plans in place to prepare for the health effects of climate change. The Wairarapa DHB even claimed it is not possible “to specify that ‘human effects’ are the direct result of climate change”.
“It’s no surprise that many of New Zealand’s health boards have no plan to deal with one of the gravest threats to humanity, when the Health Minister has done nothing to plan for the fallout from a warming climate,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said today.
“While the White House describes the health impacts of climate change as ‘one of the gravest threats to the nation’, New Zealand’s Minister of Health hasn’t even bothered to ask his officials to look at the looming health crisis.
“The Green Party revealed last year that the Minister had never corresponded with his officials about climate change and health planning.
“The leadership shown by President Obama over the grave threats from climate pollution stands in stark contrast to the apathy of the New Zealand Government.
“The best chance New Zealand has of dealing with the health consequences of climate change is to be prepared for them. Some of the consequences of a warming world, like increases in water-borne diseases, skin cancer and the appearance of tropical disease like the zika virus are entirely predictable.
“The National Government’s plan for dealing with climate change appears to be to ignore it. That approach is possibly the biggest threat to health that New Zealand is facing in the future,” Mr Hague said.
Link to the responses received under the OIA: