Office workers wanting a quiet lunchtime panini in Vulcan Lane Auckland today would have been sorely disappointed. TV cameras, journalists, Sign On signature gatherers, a mayor, a scientist, the Warrior Princess and the Whale Rider filled the narrow lane. And oddly, most seemed to have broken their arms.

Today Sign On shifted gear and took the 40 by 2020 message direct to Prime Minister John Key. How? With arm casts reminiscent of his National-blue plaster cast, circa January 2009. If you recall, John tripped and fell down a set of stairs; to some a set back, but not to John. Over time, as the arm began to heel, and with the power of local and world leaders’ signatures on the cast, he turned a sow’s ear into a silk purse, transforming the potential shame of the stair incident into a public relations winner.

Sign On is now calling for this kind of global team work and cooperation over climate change. We’re saying “Come on John, Sign On!”

Today, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Dan from Huffer, Lucy Lawless, Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey, climate scientist Jim Salinger, and journalist Francesca Price all donned blue casts for the cause, inviting passer bys to Sign On to their casts and the campaign. (Keisha was the winner on the day – signing on 12 people in just 10 minutes). The ambassadors have pledged to wear the casts at public events between now and Copenhagen, providing a clear visual prompt for John to do the right thing.

“Sign On will now focus squarely on the Prime Minister as the one person who can ensure New Zealand does the right thing when it comes to climate change,” Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Simon Boxer told the crowd gathered around Vulcan’s nikaus. “John Key may think that by announcing a conditional target of 10-20% the issue is done and dusted. I think he’ll find quite the opposite as we get closer to Copenhagen.”

Lucy Lawless concurred. “The scientists say an emissions reduction target of 40% by 2020 is needed. Anything else is flim flam.” She called on Kiwis to make their voices heard. “The Government belongs to the people, not the other way around and they will have to listen. We have nearly 100,000 people signed on; we need another 100,000, and then another 100,000”

Meanwhile, across the lane, Keisha batted off questions about her “verbal cuppa” with Prime Minister John Key. “Sign On is all about creating a public mandate for John Key to do the right thing,” she told media. “We are not saying it’s going to be easy, and we do not envy him being the one who has to make the hard call. But the science is clear and the time is right. It’s now or never.”


See more images here.