Over the weekend we visited the National Party’s annual conference, with a special Arctic visitor and a simple question: is climate change on the agenda?

It’s hard to ignore a polar bear - but that’s exactly what many delegates did. Those who did stop to chat offered a mixed bag of opinions, from a straight “no,” or “it’s a fallacy,” through to Amy Adams (aka the Environment Minister) saying it was not her department.

Which is worse: senior Ministers acknowledging the problem yet failing to initiate any kind of meaningful action, or party supporters who flatly deny the issue altogether? At least the latter’s words match their (in)actions, whereas it’s embarrassing to hear Ministers agree that it’s a crucial issue, whilst promoting policies that won’t even meet their own emissions targets, let alone ensure a safe and stable climate. On the contrary, their National-led government has opened up millions of hectares of land and sea for oil companies to drill, frack, and mine for fossil fuels. Meanwhile, we miss the opportunities of a more prosperous society based on clean energy.

Our polar bear came with a simple message: climate change affects us all and urgent action is needed, no matter which political party you’re from.

Giving this Arctic ambassador the cold shoulder doesn’t make the crisis any less pressing, or any less real.


This blog is part of the #election2014 series. The series discusses New Zealand politics and the policies and, sometimes, lack of them, of our political parties. We hope that it provokes a bit of debate. 

Greenpeace is non-party political. We do not align ourselves with any political party and are committed to the principle of political independence. To maintain our independence, we don’t accept money from governments, corporations or political parties.