WR Newsletter, September 2017

Hi there – Your Wise Response (WR) Committee has continued to advocate for civil society on a number of fronts. This is to update you since the last one in June 2016.

Newsletter contents:

  1. Development of the Climate Coalition Consensus Aotearoa Position Statement
  2. Delivering the CCCA Statement to Parliament through GLOBE-NZ
  3. Appeal of Otago’s Regional Policy Statement (RPS)
  4. Submission on NZ’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Review
  5. Environment and Conservation Science Roadmap: Govt discussion paper
  6. Other WR activities and events during the year
  7. Looking ahead
  8. Some thought provoking links from the Wise Response discussion list


Also, sometimes we get enquiries as to what people can do to help. So in this addition we have highlighted several places where we see an “action op”.


  1. Development of the Climate Coalition Consensus Aotearoa (CCCA) Position statement and Action Plan – the major activity of the year.


The CCCA ” Position Statement and Action Plan” was put together by some 20 concerned NGOs using the Loomio interactive programme and managed by our intern student Jule Barth, Nathan and Dugald, combined with a well-attended workshop held at Forest & Bird’s central office in Wellington, over two days in mid February, 2017.


We took up the initiative because of frustration with the lack of action by central Government after the Paris COP21 agreement of December 2015. We had assumed Government would arrange a collaborative process with “stakeholders” to develop an Emissions Reduction Plan. It thus seemed prudent for NGOs as a sector to agree on baseline conditions and institutional recommendations ahead of time. The subsequent process of developing the Position Statement has been facilitated by our Society (WR) and was largely based on a discussion paper prepared by Prof. Jonathan Boston, Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University.

Figure 1 below is a schematic, developed to help explain how the entities recommended for the implementation of the CCCA Position Statement/Action Plan would interrelate with existing entities and represent the concerns of civil society.

In the event, central Government has preferred to establish direct “Technical advisory groups” rather than use a collaborative process. So the Coalition of NGOs decided to continue building support for a relevant statement. WR, notably Nathan Surendran, built the CCCA website (www.climateconsensus.nz), ably assisted by our second Otago University student intern, Hannah Milner. We have been inviting support mainly from NGOs since late July. Anyone/organisation that endorses it becomes a member of CCCA. In addition to our major NGOs, the campaign has had us contact directly every Local Body and each Councillor in the country.

So far, the total of individuals and the membership of organisations which have formally endorsed this Statement and Action Plan numbers over 0.25Million from 80 organisations!


Action op: Please check www.climateconsensus.nz and if an organisation with which you are affiliated is not registered already, then fill in the auto-generated email and send it to the secretary asking them to sign up asap! Many thanks.    

Figure 1: Concept of the main information flows proposed under CCCA (with new institutional entities highlighted)


  1. Delivering the Climate Consensus Coalition to Parliament through GLOBE-NZ


On 16 August, WR Chair Sir Alan Mark led presentations of the CCCA Position Statement and Action Plan to MPs on your behalf as its creators and supporters. There were two presentations – one in the morning just to GLOBE-NZ members (chaired by Dr Kennedy Graham) and the second to an invited audience of all MPs in the Beehive Theatrette, hosted by GLOBE-NZ. 

Professor Jonathan Boston and Sir Geoffrey Palmer, and representatives of 5 other NGOs, who helped develop the statement, spoke in support. These included James Drew-Young (GenZero), Adelia Hallett (Forest & Bird), Dr Roger Blakeley and Sue Kedgley (Wellington RC & Local Govt NZ), Gay Keating (Ora Taiao) and Katherine Peet (Network Waitangi Otautahi/One Voice Te Reo Kotahi).

A discussion session followed ahead of concluding remarks by Sir Geoffrey (for WR), and Tracey Martin (NZ First), David Parker (Labour) and Kennedy Graham (Greens), for GLOBE-NZ.

The result was a strong and united feeling behind all the principles of the Statement, particularly for the formation of an independent Climate Commission and Climate Fund.  And the entire process has given Wise Response a much stronger connection with politicians and other NGOs working on similar issues.

We will continue to build support through the website until the new Government is formed anyway, and will ask those organisations who have endorsed the Statement to spread the word through their social media in order to better embrace civil society.

Action op: Visit the Spinoff and compare the key policy concepts of all the parties for Election 2017: https://policy.thespinoff.co.nz/ (click on the topics at the bottom of the website page)


  1. Otago Regional Council’s Regional Policy Statement (RPS) Review and Appeal (October 2016).

Following the notification of the Otago Regional Council’s (ORC’s) Decision RPS, notified 1 October 2016, we decided, to lodge an appeal to the Environment Court. This decision was made in pro-bono consultation with prominent Dunedin environmental lawyer, Dr Royden Somerville QC, and Richard Reeve (Instructing). This has involved appeal preparation, several sessions with Royden and his assistant, Will Anglin, and some three weeks of mediation, with about 30 other appellants, before an Environment Court Commissioner and ORC staff.

Considerable progress has been made correcting key deficiencies we had identified in the ORC’s notified statement – namely to strengthen concepts of resilience, ecosystem function, risk assessment and precaution, as well as addressing renewable energy and the causes of climate change (not just adaptation). Never the less, we anticipate that we will need to take, with expert witnesses, several outstanding matters to the Environment Court.

It is our intention that these revisions will force the incorporation of much more genuinely sustainable provisions in subordinate Plans when they are reviewed (Water, Waste, etc). We hope this will facilitate leverage of similar changes into other RPSs in other regions.

Action op: Contact your local Regional Council and find out when your local Regional Policy Statement is to be reviewed and submit. We can provide you with supporting material. You could request a review.


  1. New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Review (March 3)

A second round of so-called public hearings was held on at the Dunedin Centre for which a formal application was required and an ID presented at the door. Dugald and I attended the morning “Supply setting” session, but not the “Forestry matters” session in the afternoon. To our dismay, we found that the intention of the meeting was to convey MfE thoughts on updating the ETS to the public, rather than receiving views from the few in attendance: some seven public, outnumbered by officials from Wellington; a reflection of the lack of advertisement. WR expressed serious concerns with this situation and indicated we would follow up with written comments, which we sent to the MfE’s Senior policy Analyst on March 31; see: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3hn46fdhlhi55ob/ETS.doc?dl=0                        

Dugald and I also contributed an opinion piece in the Otago Daily Times of June 6; see: https://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/big-spend-prolongs-carbon-party

The Government has subsequently made “in-principle” decisions on a package of four changes to how the NZ ETS will operate in the 2020s.

  • introduce auctioning of units, to align the NZ ETS to our climate change targets
  • limit participants’ use of international units when the NZ ETS reopens to international carbon markets (but with the purchase of some $14 billion worth over a decade)
  • develop a different price ceiling to eventually replace the current $25 fixed price option
  • coordinate decisions on the supply settings in the NZ ETS over a rolling five-year period.


  1. Environment and Conservation Science Roadmap: Govt discussion paper (July, 2016)

Sir Alan attended a meeting in Dunedin, convened by five Government staff from DoC, MfE and the Prime Minister’s Science Advisory group, in mid July, to discuss this Science Roadmap, along with some 20 other, mainly local scientists. Most were highly critical of this 54-page paper since it obviously presented a ‘business-as-usual’ approach. Alans submission is at:


The Government released its final report on the subject in February, 2017:

The final 78-page report still implies heavy reliance on “innovative science”, clearly expressed in the joint introductory message from the Ministers for the Environment and of Conservation: “We view innovative science as critical to achieve our ambitious programme of goals like our 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, being predator free by 2050, and having 90 per cent of rivers and lakes being swimmable by 2040. … The Roadmap will ensure our science investment across agencies is more strategic and better coordinated.”


  1. Other WR activities and events during the year


  • Law Profs. Jacinta Ruru and Andrew Geddis, spoke to a Wise Response Committee meeting on October 5 2017 about the implications for elsewhere in New Zealand of legal personhood of Te Urewera and the Whanganui River.
  • Alan was invited to chair a symposium on climate change impacts on nature in New Zealand: “Climate change and conservation science”, organised by Forest and Bird Protection Society at the Wellington Zoo on November 15.
  • Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Bryce Johnson and Alan spoke on “New Zealand Futures” at a symposium organised by Ministry for the Environment and held at their office in central Wellington on 14 February. It was attended by many senior Ministry staff. Alan gave a power-point presentation entitled: “Planning for a Sustainable Future.”
  • WR facilitated a public meeting in Dunedin, with three members of the GLOBE-NZ, cross-party parliamentarians, Convener Dr Kennedy Graham (Green Party), Hon. David Parker (Labour Party) and Stuart Smith (National Party; Kaikoura), which drew a large crowd to the University’s Dental School. Dr Graham explained that their Vivid Economics Report provided an opportunity for developing an ambitious pathway to domestic emissions neutrality as called for in the Paris Agreement which we have formally supported.
  • Alan contributed to the nation-wide launch of “Our Climate Declaration” in Dunedin on June 18, which was held simultaneously in Auckland (where it was officially launched by Joanna Santa Barbara with a SKYPE connection), Wellington (with a SKYPE link to the talk by Dr James Renwick) and Christchurch. The Dunedin meeting was convened by Prof. Ralph Adler and involved 11 speakers, including Mayor Dave Cull. For Alan’s talk see: https://www.dropbox.com/s/zfedxcwmbliesa4/OurClimateDeclaration.doc?dl=0


  1. Looking ahead
  • Productivity Commission: The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to undertake an inquiry into how New Zealand can maximise the opportunities and minimise the costs and risks of transitioning to a lower net-emissions economy. The Commission is open and transparent and its recommendations are in the public arena and open to democratic debate so it seems like an opportunity to question the paradigm of growth with a submission – e.g. productivity for what? http://www.productivity.govt.nz/inquiry-content/3254?stage=2

Action op: Submit to Productivity Commissions Low Carbon enquiry                  

Action op: Get a few together and do Heinbergs “Think Resilience” Course at http://bit.ly/2xCI4l2

  • Wise Response AGM: The Wise Response AGM was held on 24 August in Dunedin. The unconfirmed minutes will be available shortly.

Action op: WR is a charity and run on a shoe string, so if you would like to donate, Account details are as follows: Bank: Kiwibank, Name: Wise Response Society Inc., Account 38-9014-0100230-00. If you let us have your postal address we will issue a receipt for the donation after it has been credited to our account.


  1. Some interesting links from the WR Discussion List
  • Why are the crucial questions about Hurricane Harvey not being asked? George Monbiot – This is a manmade climate-related disaster. To ignore this ensures our greatest challenge goes unanswered and helps push the world towards catastrophe http://bit.ly/2go1fLo
  • CDP Carbon Majors Report 2017: 100 fossil fuel producers and nearly 1 trillion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions http://bit.ly/2tZU2Gq
  • Brace for the oil, food and financial crash of 2018; 80% of the world’s oil has peaked, and the resulting oil crunch will flatten the economy by Nafeez Ahmed https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/brace-for-the-financial-crash-of-2018-b2f81f85686b
  • Inside the new economic science of capitalism’s slow-burn energy collapse. And why the struggle for a new economic paradigm is about to get real. By Nafeez Ahmed http://bit.ly/2vRVI51
  • Climate projections are based on emission scenarios. The emission scenarios used by the IPCC and by mainstream climate scientists are largely derived from the predicted demand for fossil fuels, and in our view take insufficient consideration of the constrained emissions that are likely due to the depletion of these fuels. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421512009275 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016328715300690 
  • Lean Logic and Surviving the Future by David Fleming: A beautifully written and nourishing vision of a post-growth economics grounded in human-scale culture and community http://www.flemingpolicycentre.org.uk/lean-logic-surviving-the-future/
  • Working for transition from consumer society to a simpler, more cooperative, just and ecologically sustainable society http://www.thesimplerway.info/
  • Australia, deep in climate change’s ‘disaster alley’, shirks its moral responsibility Ian Dunlop. http://bit.ly/2tMkwIA
  • Submissions to the Irish Citizen’s assembly on doing more of substance to address climate change: http://www.capglobalcarbon.org/2017/08/11/submission-to-the-citizens-assembly/ and http://www.feasta.org/2017/08/11/submission-to-the-citizens-assembly/
  • Are You Ready to Consider That Capitalism Is the Real Problem?


Best wishes from the Wise Response Committee (2016-2017): Patron: Sir Geoffrey Palmer. Committee: Alan Mark, Bob Lloyd, Brian Turner, Pat Scott, Donna Watson, Janet Stephenson, Jim Simpson, John Cocks, Jocelyn Harris, Liz Slooten, Mark Jackson, Nathan Surendran, Philip Temple, Rob Lawson, Jule Barth and Dugald MacTavish.