Havelock North outbreak raises big questions about land use and climate change

The Havelock North outbreak calls into question the Government’s growth-at-any-cost economic strategy, says Green Party Co-leader James Shaw today, in response to comments today by professors of public health, Alistair Woodward and Simon Hales

The Havelock North outbreak calls into question the Government’s growth-at-any-cost economic strategy, says Green Party Co-leader James Shaw today, in response to comments today by professors of public health, Alistair Woodward and Simon Hales.

“As Professor Woodward said this morning, the independent inquiry is an opportunity to look at issues of land use, freshwater quality and the impacts of climate change to prevent further outbreaks and risks to public health, not just in Havelock North, but all of New Zealand,” said Mr Shaw.

“But that opportunity will only be realised if the Government broadens the scope of the inquiry and includes freshwater and environmental scientists, as well health and engineering experts, to ensure that it properly assesses the impacts of land use and climate change on the state of the waterways that we use to supply our drinking water.

“We know that the outbreak in Havelock North was preceded by heavy rainfall off the back of a dry period, which, as Professor Woodward has reinforced, meant there would have been heavy run off and an increased risk of faecal contamination of aquifers and bores.

“This is a vivid illustration of the real impact climate change is having on our way of life right now. New Zealand is facing huge increases in rainfall as a result of climate change, a reality that needs to be reflected in our economic and environmental planning decisions.

“Havelock North is a sign of things to come for New Zealand as our population and economy continues to grow, unless we change our focus to sustainable economic development rather than the Government’s ‘all growth is good growth’ approach.

 

“We need to measure and account for the true costs to society that a rapidly increasing population and industrial activity has on the environment, which we all rely on for our quality of life. The cost of cleaning up after Havelock North, the money spent on public health and looking after the thousands of victims of the outbreak will be recorded as an increase in GDP (Gross Domestic Product), which the Government will claim as a sign of economic success.

“The recommendations and outcomes of the Inquiry need to be considered and implemented at a nationwide level. By transitioning our economy to a more sustainable footing now, we can protect our environment, prevent future risks to the health of our communities and reduce costs to the public purse.

“With experts highlighting the risks of future contamination, National needs to stop being complacent about the real impacts of environmental degradation on public health and the economy,” said Mr Shaw.

Latest Environment Announcements

Petition

Take action to protect our oceans

We’re taking the health of our oceans seriously and our Thriving Oceans Plan sets out exactly how the Green Party will protect them so we all can e...
TAKE ACTION

Thriving Oceans

Oceans are the lifeblood of our planet and home to thousands of taonga species, providing us with nourishing food to feed our families, supporting ...
Read More

Farming For The Future

Here in Aotearoa, we can have a thriving and sustainable farming sector that is good for farmers, good for people, and good for the planet. By maki...
Read More

Story

More action on waste – Government funds recycling infrastructure, moves to standardise kerbside collections

$36.7m Government investment in high-tech recycling plants nationwide Plan to standardise and improve the nation’s kerbside collections As part o...
Read More

Story

New rules for the outdoor storage of tyres

The Government is introducing environmental standards for tyres stored outdoors announced Associate Minister for the Environment, Eugenie Sage. “A ...
Read More

Story

Government announces plan to tackle problem plastics and seven single-use plastic items

Following the success of the phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags, the Government now has plans to phase out more single-use and problem p...
Read More

Latest Climate Change Announcements

Story

New Zealand first in the world to require climate risk reporting

New Zealand will be the first country in the world to require the financial sector to report on climate risks, the Minister for Climate Change Jame...
Read More

Story

Greens unveil $297m fund to support sustainable food and farming

The Green Party has released its Farming for the Future Plan, including a $297m fund to support farmers and growers to transition to climate-friend...
Read More

Petition

Supporting farmers to be part of the solution

Our farmers are already leading the way toward climate-friendly agriculture - but governments must support them to go further, faster.   The Green ...
SIGN ON

Farming For The Future

Here in Aotearoa, we can have a thriving and sustainable farming sector that is good for farmers, good for people, and good for the planet. By maki...
Read More

Story

Labour’s energy policy shows progress, but more action needed to protect the planet

The Green Party says Labour’s energy policy is a step in the right direction, but the Greens would go further and faster to meaningfully tackle the...
Read More

Story

Low-emissions options for heavy transport a step closer

Getting low-emission trucks on the road is a step closer with investment in infrastructure to support hydrogen vehicles, the Energy and Resources M...
Read More

Latest Finance Announcements

Story

No surprise in National’s latest attempt to slash public services

National’s ‘alternative budget’ that includes huge cuts to the government’s operating allowance would risk gutting critical public services, and pu...
Read More

Policy

Economic Policy

A Green economy is about better quality of life for people and the planet. Economic success is intertwined with environmental and human wellbeing. ...
See More

Policy

Trade and Foreign Investment Policy

We support fair trade that’s good for economic prosperity, people, and the planet. Trade agreements must respect democracy and state sovereignty T...
See More

Story

Green Budget win backs public sector leadership on climate change

The Greens in Government have today won a significant investment to help move the public sector estate onto clean, renewable energy, Green Party Co...
Read More

Story

Budget 2019 Speech - James Shaw

E te Māngai o te Whare, tēnā koe. Ki a koutou ōku hoa Pāremata, huri noa i te Whare, ngā mihi o te tau hou ki a koutou katoa. 1.         The Wellbe...
Read More

Story

Green Party welcomes first Wellbeing Budget

“The Green Party is proud to welcome New Zealand’s first Wellbeing Budget to deliver change for New Zealanders,” Green Party Co-leader James Shaw s...
Read More