I hope this finds you well. I just wanted to update you on some goings on down here in New Zealand.

Last Thursday, just as the sun was rising over our capital of Wellington, four activists scaled our parliament building to install solar panels on the roof and drop a large, satirical banner targeting the Prime Minister.

Check it out:

The reason for the early start was to call upon the government to take real action on climate change… now! Despite our global clean and green image, our record on climate action is poor. A recent public consultation on what pollution reduction targets NZ should take to Paris was a total farce, with the Government falsely claiming the bigger the target, the greater the cost will be to the economy. It was an attempt to persuade the public that we should do nothing. But what the government can’t deny is that NZ’s emissions look likely to spiral out of control, and by its very own figures the cost of inaction could be as high as NZD$52 billion.

By climbing Parliament House, our activists’ aim was to very publicly highlight the lack of ambition our Government’s seems to have about finding solutions - and most importantly - its lack of action.  

But our message wasn’t all doom and gloom. No. Because where there is hope, there are jobs. And NZ, being blessed with a renewable powerbase, is in a good place to move to 100% clean energy. It is an opportunity that would create tens of thousands of jobs and give a multi-billion dollar boost to the economy. And most importantly it would slash climate pollution and help build a cleaner, smarter, healthier New Zealand.

But enough of the campaign spiel, the reaction to the parliament climb on Thursday was off the charts. Not only did we lead the news on every single media outlet (and pigeon post) in this Pacific outpost, but we also went global. We were particularly big in Kansas, I’m informed, and we featured in one of the UK’s largest rags The Guardian, as well as other international outlets such as The BBC, Reuters and The Washington Post.

Our Twitter tag for the protest, #RealClimateAction, was the number one trending hashtag around New Zealand on the day, and people worldwide also tuned into the application Periscope to watch the events unfold live, beamed from the solar-powered mobile phone of one of our climbers!

Of course, the stars of the show were the climb team, led by the very capable and now internationally recognised Johno Smith (of #TheCrossing fame). The other climbers included Jeff Harrison, Abi Smith and Verena Maeder.

After unfurling the banner and installing the solar panels, the group stayed up on the roof of parliament for 10 hours, taking media interviews and answering multitudes questions on popular online discussion forum Reddit.

People around New Zealand showed overwhelming support of the action and were able to see through the government and media top lines that focused on the “security breach” rather than the real message behind the protest.

Greenpeace NZ Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid hit the nail on the head when she tweeted: “Security breach at parliament, security breach of the planet? You choose”.

A NZ Herald survey showed 61% of people agreed with the protest, while the Sean Plunket Poll on RadioLIVE pegged that number at a staggering 89%.

At around 5pm that day, our four valiant climbers abseiled down the front of Parliament House and were met by applause from the waiting audience. They were then taken into police custody and charged with wilful trespass. At this stage, the first court date is set for July 10 – coincidentally (and rather fittingly) the date of the 30th anniversary of the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior.

In another interesting coincidence, on the day of the Greenpeace Parliament House protest, another huge win for the climate occurred on the other side of the world.

Almost 900 Dutch citizens had just won a class action law suit, filed against their own government in response to what they said was its failure to effectively tackle climate change.

A Dutch court agreed, and ordered the state to reduce emissions by 25% within five years in order to protect its citizens against climate change. It was the first time in history that human rights had been used as a legal basis to protect people from climate pollution, and its success is now reverberating around the globe.

Just a few days ago, environmentalists in Australia confirmed they are planning to follow the precedent set by the Netherlands and launch a similar action Down Under, and no doubt there are many similar discussions taking place throughout the world as we speak.

It just goes to show the strength of people power and grass roots action. Sometimes it only takes one successful idea to multiply, travel and change the world we live in.

But for now, take care. As they say around here, Kia kaha.

Over and out

Nathan and the NZ crew.