“Tēnā koutou katoa,

Nō te Whanganui a tara ahau
E noho ana ahau ki Tāmaki Makaurau
E mihi ana ki ngā tohu o nehe, o Tāmaki Makaurau e noho nei au
Ko Ngāti Pākehā te iwi
Ko Erica Finnie toku ingoa

My name is Erica Finnie and I’m a Co-Director of 350 Aotearoa. I’m here tonight representing the thousands of people in our 350 Aotearoa community. I’m also here as a young person, deeply worried about mine and others futures, and calling on all of us to act urgently to stop the climate crisis.

Our government and many of our major institutions have committed to the Paris Agreement and limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees. We need to transform these commitments into actionable plans.

Every day we don’t act is a lost opportunity, and increases the future cost and the drastic nature of the transition needed to stop climate change. If we do not act at pace and at scale now, we will lock ourselves into devastating temperature increases.  The science is clear: we need a controlled, but rapid phase-out of fossil fuels.

We need to replicate this government’s world-leading response to managing COVID and show world leadership around how we address climate change, using our recovery spending to accelerate our transition towards zero carbon and build our resilience to future shocks.

Here are 4 key areas where this needs to happen:

  • Every institution and every single level of government must withdraw its support from the fossil fuel industry — be that investments, sponsorships, subsidies or permits. The financial sector has a powerful role making or breaking the fossil fuel industry. The government has made progress by ensuring that all default Kiwisaver schemes need to be fossil free, as well as introducing mandatory financial sector climate-risk reporting. But this does not go far enough. What we really need is no more money in fossil fuels. In the first 100 days of the next government, we need to see our public funds like ACC & NZ Super divest from climate-wrecking industries and protect our public money from the risk of stranded assets. Every other investor in this room needs to follow suit.
  • We also need the public sector to lead the way on decarbonising Aotearoa. That means commitments from this government to transition all of our schools, hospitals and prisons off coal & gas boilers by 2025 so that we’re breathing cleaner air and reducing our emissions. It also means turbo-charging all government procurement with a climate lens.
  • Thirdly, we need to recognise our role as an international leader and a developed country. Our just transition must include the poorest countries and communities that are least responsible for climate change. Our approach to climate negotiations must do more to support the demands of developing countries. We should be leading the way and pushing for other countries to follow on equitable climate finance and ensuring that our commitment to a just transition goes beyond our borders.
  • The final priority this government needs to make in its climate response is seriously questioning who is at the table. We live on indigenous land and tangata whenua must be at the forefront of decision-making. Pacific communities on the frontline of climate impacts must be at the table. Every aspect of our climate change approach must include people with disabilities. Young people also need to be in every room where decisions are made about our futures.

These four priorities give Aotearoa a good starting point to manage a fair and just transition to a low-carbon future. It will take immediate, bold leadership from all of us to limit warming to 1.5 degrees and stop climate breakdown.”