Wise Response AGM, 28th August 2018

The Wise Response AGM will be held in the Centre for Sustainability Seminar Room, Castle St,  Dunedin from 3.30 – 5.30pm, Tuesday 28th August 2018.

The committee can number up to 14 members, can co-opt and is currently:

Alan Mark (Chair), Bob Lloyd, Brian Turner, Donna Watson, Janet Stephenson, Jim Simpson, Jocelyn Harris, Liz Slooten, Mark Jackson, Nathan Surendran, Pat Scott, Philip Temple, Rob Lawson (Treasurer), Lisa Ellis, Dugald MacTavish (Secretary).


(a) Minutes of the previous Meeting
(b) Correspondence
(c) Chairperson’s report on the business of the Society
(d) Treasurer’s report on the Society’s finances and the Statement of Accounts
(e) Any Annual Plan (none)
(f) Election of Committee Members which will consist of between 4 and 14 members.
(g) Election of Officers (Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, Spokesperson and any other that the meeting decides)
(h) Fixing the annual subscription/donations (if any) for the ensuing year
(i) Confirming patron(s)
(j) Motions
(k) General business and programme for 2018/19

Wise Response 2018 ANNUAL REPORT



Wise Response Inc Submission to the Zero Carbon Bill, July 2018

Wise Response has released its submission to the Zero Carbon Bill.

It is available to download as a PDF (1MB) here: Wise Response Society Submission on the Zero Carbon Bill 19 July 2018 Final

We welcome comments on the submission. Please email these to secretary@wiseresponse.org.nz

Submissions to the Zero Carbon Act may be viewed here: Ministry for the Environment.


The Otago Daily Times have covered Climate Change and Wise Response’s position in their weekend magazine.




Dunedin Science Festival – Climate Change Forum

Climate change: Why, when and how do we respond?

Very brief introductions by experts from Otago University and Victoria University, including James Renwick, will be followed by discussion and questions from the audience.

We will discuss environmental, human health and social impacts of climate change, renewable energy, the pros and cons of offsetting, how much time, money and other resources should be spent on mitigation vs adaptation?

How prepared is Dunedin and Otago for Climate Change?


  • James Renwick: Climate change
  • Prof Bob Lloyd: Energy
  • Alex MacMillan: Health
  • Susan Walker: Biota
  • Lisa Ellis: Social
  • Associate Professor Janet Stephenson: Summary/Conclusion

Event will be held in the St David Lecture Theatre Complex, St David Street, University of Otago

Tickets required – Get them here!

Wise Response Submission to the Social Services and Community Select Committee on the Child Poverty Reduction Bill. 2 May, 2018.

Wise Response Submission to the Social Services and Community Select Committee on the Child Poverty Reduction Bill. 2 May, 2018



Wise Response is a Dunedin-based but New Zealand-wide Society www.wiseresponse.org.nz , launched in 2013, with the purpose of persuading the New Zealand Parliament, Government and New Zealand society in general, to confront and respond effectively to any confirmed threats arising from the question: “As demand for growth exceeds earth’s physical limits causing unprecedented risks, what knowledge and changes do we need to secure New Zealand’s future well-being?”

As Chairperson I conducted a nation-wide tour that year with 11 public meetings from Auckland to Invercargill to explain the Society’s purpose and strategy, and gain support. The Society has no formal membership beyond its committee of 15 persons and its Patron, Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC.

We received over 5,000 signatures for our petition to Parliament in April 2014, that recommended they undertake a Risk Assessment of New Zealand, in five subjects as follows:

  1. Financial security: the risk of a sudden, deepening, or prolonged global financial crisis.
  2. Energy and climate security: the risk of continuing our heavy dependence on fossil fuels.
  3. Business continuity the risk exposure of all New Zealand business, including farming, to a lower carbon economy.
  4. Ecological/Environmental security: the risks associated with failing to genuinely protect both land-based and marine ecosystems and their natural processes.
  5. Genuine well-being: the risk of persisting with a subsidised, debt-based economy, preoccupied with maximising consumption and GDP and increasing inequality.

The Appeal sought a commitment to a quantitative, cross-party risk assessment of how and exactly where New Zealand is exposed – environmentally, socially and economically – as a rational, integrated basis for planning a more secure future. The submission was referred to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, with a hearing in July 1, 2015. The majority response was negative; claiming Government was adequately addressing the issues of concern, but the three minority parties (Labour, NZ First, Greens) offered strong endorsement.

With two meetings in Wellington, the Society facilitated development of a Position Statement and Action Plan for ENGOs on climate change, under the name Climate Consensus Coalition Aotearoa (CCCA). This proposed a goal and a process by which to effectively meet the spirit and intent of the Paris Accord of Dec. 2015. So far, the total of individuals and the membership of organisations which have formally endorsed it, numbers approximately 330,000 from about 100 organisations.

In August, 2017 we made presentations of the CCCA Position Statement and Action Plan to MPs at Parliament, on behalf of its creators and supporters. There were two presentations – one in the morning 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.

Our Society has also made formal submissions on several other relevant issues, including the Emissions Trading Scheme, the Resource Legislation Amendment

Bill, the Productivity Commission, the Otago Regional Council’s Regional Policy Statement. We also participated in Earth Day and the launch of Our Climate Declaration in Dunedin. On behalf of the Society I presented a resolution to the Royal Society Fellows AGM in October 2014, which resulted in the Society producing and publishing two substantial commissioned reports in 2016, on the Implications and the Mitigation of Climate Change in New Zealand.

More recently, Jan. 2018, the Society organised a public meeting in Dunedin on “Climate Change issues: from Bonn COP23 and beyond”, Central and Local Government responses, addressed by the Hon James Shaw, Minister of Climate Change, Mr Dave Cull, President of Local Government NZ and Hon Clare Curran, with some 400 attendees.


The Wise Response Society supports the Government’s efforts to reduce poverty in New Zealand, as quickly and effectively as possible. We believe there is no moral justification for people in New Zealand having to live in poverty. All New Zealanders should have access to a basic standard of living that should include adequate food, housing, education, welfare and health care, and where appropriate, meaningful employment. The overwhelming majority of international (e.g., Universal Declaration of Human Rights), moral and religious codes state that society has an obligation to provide the social and economic institutions so that people do not have to live in poverty.

In recent decades New Zealand has adopted neoliberal economic policies based on the priority of markets to determine the allocation of goods and services, and a downsizing of the state to play a regulating and compensatory role. This has led to the widespread growth in poverty and in environmental degradation, including potentially catastrophic climate disruption. There are many reasons for the failure of this philosophy and its policies, at both theoretical and practical levels, which we can elaborate on as necessary, but central to our submission is the moral imperative that we have an obligation to sustain and care for all the people who live in New Zealand, particularly our children, and protect them from the consequences of poverty.

We applaud the stated aims of the Bill which are to reduce child poverty and improve the overall well-being of children. Its stated purpose is to: encourage governments and society to focus on reducing child poverty; to hold governments to account against published targets; and to require transparent reporting about levels of child poverty.

To achieve its purpose the Bill would specify child poverty measures and ensure agencies work together to improve the well-being of children. It would also require: specific child poverty targets to be set, reports about child poverty to be produced and published independently of Ministers. The Government of the day would adopt, publish, and review a Government strategy for improving the well-being of all children, with a particular focus on child poverty and the needs of children at greater risk.

We agree with Prime Minister Ardern in introducing this Bill, that “for a country with relative abundance, New Zealand has the opportunity, and the moral obligation, to ensure children are free from the burden of poverty.          

This Bill is the framework for measuring and targeting child poverty. It sets in law four primary and six supplementary measures of poverty and material hardship. It requires the government of the day to then set targets to reduce child poverty. It requires governments to develop a comprehensive child well-being strategy that keeps child poverty top of mind, and keeps the focus on improving the living standards of children.”

Our Society is particularly concerned with the persistence of, and the increase in, the numbers of children under the very low-income, 40% of the after-housing costs median moving line (140,000 children). There is thus a strong case for making this one of the primary measures for the allocation of resources sufficient to explain how families might fall below this line. This particular measure signifies the most serious end of child poverty and so policies are urgently needed to ensure that no child falls below this line.

Finally, our Society applauds the various proposals contained in this Bill and we agree that tackling and measuring child poverty is complicated and demanding, but our children are relying on civil society to act and so we strongly support this Bill.

Our Society has also endorsed and added our support for the Children’s Sector Joint Submission on this Bill and we also endorse the detailed submission presented by the Child Poverty Action Group.


Sir Alan Mark FRSNZ, Chair, Wise Response Society Inc.,

Wise Response Presentation to Engineers for Social Responsibility

High Expectations for the Climate Commission;
Will Government’s action push us fast enough?
A seminar was presented, outlining the issues behind the push for the establishment of a Climate Change Commission to the Engineers for Social Responsibility Inc.
  Speakers included:
 – Alan Mark:  Introduction: NZ’s Climate Change Programme
 – Dugald MacTavish: Meeting the GHG Target: the Stabilisation Wedge
 – Bob Lloyd:  The Transport Sector
 – Janet Stephenson:  The Industrial Sector,  the Energy Sector
 – Hugh Campbell:  The Land Use Sector
 – Nathan Surendran:  The Waste Sector
 – Lisa Ellis: Ethical and Social Aspects.
A PDF of the presentations is available here (2MB): WR_ESR_Compiled_presntations_2018.

Commonwealth science academies call for action on climate change

On 12 March 2018, Commonwealth academies of science released the following consensus statement on climate change:

Commonwealth academies of science consensus statement on climate change (PDF 580kb)

The call is part of a Consensus Statement on Climate Change, launched today by 22 national academies and societies of science from around the Commonwealth, ahead of next month’s Commonwealth summit in the United Kingdom.

The statement, which represents the consensus views of tens of thousands of scientists, marks the first time Commonwealth nations have come together to urge their Governments to take further action to achieve net-zero greenhouse gases emissions during the second half of the 21st century.

New Zealand’s Royal Society has joined science leaders from around the globe to call on the Commonwealth Heads of Government to use the best available science to guide action on climate change. A PDF of the press release from the Society is available here: 2018-03-12-Commonwealth-concensus-statement-on-climate-change-media-rele…





Public Meeting: Climate Change and The Government

A Public Meeting was held in Dunedin on January 29th 2018, on: “Climate Change Issues: from Bonn COP23 and beyond”.

Public Meeting: “From Bonn COP23 and beyond.” Hon James Shaw, Minister of Climate Change, discusses the role of Central Government; Mr Dave Cull, President of Local Government NZ and Mayor of Dunedin, discusses the role of Local Government with special reference to Dunedin, and Hon Clare Curran, Dunedin South MP, discusses the South Dunedin situation.

The event is available on Youtube here: COP23 and Beyond, Climate Change Issues




The Future of Food: Lecture, Dunedin, 11 Dec 2017

A PDF of the talk is available here (4MB): Future of Food – Dunedin – Mike Joy

The talk was covered by the Otago Daily Times here.



The Future of Food

Mike Joy

Massey University – Ecology – Institute of Agriculture and Environment

When: Monday December 11 2017, 5.30-6.30pm

Where: St David St Lecture Theatre


About the talk:

The Future of Food: our deadly nitrogen and fossil fuel addiction. A discussion of where we are in relation to food production nationally globally and what is coming (we have been warned).

About the Speaker:

Mike Joy BSc, MSc (1st class hons), PhD in Ecology is a Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Science at the Ecology group-Institute of Agriculture and Environment Massey University Palmerston North.  He researches and teaches freshwater ecology, especially freshwater fish ecology and distribution, ecological modelling bio-assessment and environmental science.  He has and continues to supervise many Masters and PhD students doing research into freshwater ecology, with topics from native fish ecology to farmers’ attitudes to sustainability.

Mike has published many papers in scientific journals, many international as well as articles and op-eds for newspapers and magazines. He has authored many reports for Regional Councils and ministry for the environment, and has developed a number of bio-assessment tools and associated software used by many North Island Regional Councils.

Mike is an outspoken advocate for environmental protection in New Zealand and has received a number of awards including an Ecology in Action award from the NZ Ecological Society, an Old Blue award from Forest and Bird, he was named 2009 Environmental New Zealander of the year by North and South magazine, Manawatu Evening Standard 2012 person of the year, in 2013 he received the Tertiary Education Union NZ Award of Excellence for Academic Freedom and contribution to Public Education, the 2013 Charles Fleming Award for environmental work from the Royal Society of New Zealand, in 2015 the Morgan Foundation inaugural River Voice Award and in 2017 the inaugural New Zealand Universities Critic and Conscience award.