Wild fires a sign of things to come

The wild fires burning in Hawke’s Bay and near Christchurch are an unfortunate sign of things to come if action isn't taken by governments to halt the climate crisis, the Green Party said today.

The Ministry for the Environment estimates that longer and more frequent droughts, combined with water shortages, are likely to increase the risk of wildfires in Hawke's Bay and parts of Canterbury.

“The wild fires we are seeing in the Hawke’s Bay and around Christchurch mirror long-term climate change scenarios where wildfires are an increased risk in both regions," said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“My thoughts go out to the people experiencing these fires first-hand, who have lost homes, property, or who have had near misses.

“You have the Salvation Army’s Emergency Services saying this has been the worst season for rural fires in Hawke's Bay in the past 16 years.

“The science tells us climate change is likely to cause more frequent droughts, increased water shortages and increased risk of wildfires. If we ignore that warning we’re putting people and their livelihoods at risk.

“People in the Hawke's Bay and Canterbury are used to dealing with drought and fire risk, but no one wants to see this get worse.

“The Government has a moral responsibility to do its bit to eliminate climate pollution, to ensure the next generation doesn’t inherit a country where more frequent wild fires are the norm.

“The Green Party in government would make sure the biggest climate polluters pay for their emissions, prioritise transport investment in clean-energy rail and public transport, and transition New Zealand to 100 percent renewable electricity.

“National has instead allowed climate pollution to rise 19 percent since taking power,” said Mr Shaw.

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