Responding to the leaked Ministry for the Environment report that estimates $19 billion of property is at risk in New Zealand from the effects of climate change, Greenpeace climate campaigner Kate Simcock says:

“This report shows that the Government is fully aware of the devastating effects climate change will have on our communities and our economy,” she says.

“We’re talking about more than 130,000 people potentially being directly affected by sea level rise, flooding, and coastal erosion, almost 70,000 homes and buildings, and widespread damage to major infrastructure including roads, rail, and airports.

“The estimated $19 billion of property that’s at risk is phenomenal. To put it into context, it’s far greater than any single spending promise in the lead-up to the elections.

“There is simply no bigger threat to the people of New Zealand, our environment, infrastructure, or economy than climate change – so the question is; why isn’t the National Government talking about it?

“Three weeks out from the election and Bill English has been almost completely silent on the topic other than to say it’s not something that Kiwis wake up in the morning and think about.

“In the background, his Government is continuing to push the expansion of oil, gas and coal to burn – the key driver of climate change – while burying reports like this that reveal the magnitude of the problem we face.

“It was a key moment when Jacinda Ardern came out and compared climate change to her generation’s nuclear-free moment, but we’ve yet to see anything ambitious enough to tackle the seriousness of this problem in Labour’s policies either.

“Climate change must be the key issue for the election, and beyond. It’s an existential threat to all aspects of our society and way of life, and we need an all-of-government and all-of-society approach to tackle it.”

Greenpeace has just published a list of 11 things political parties should do now if they are serious about climate change.