National | Ministry for the Environment

'We’re telling the government to wake up' - Rangatahi strike

Tens of thousands of rangatahi have taken to the streets around the country for a second time to fight for climate change action.

In Auckland, a "lie in" protest was held where thousands of students blocked Queen Street and laid down to get the government to “wake up”, says organiser Luke Wijohn from Ngā Puna o Waiōrea school.

“We’re telling the government to wake up and declare a climate emergency,” the 17-year-old Ngāi Tūhoe and Te Rarawa student says.

#LIVE Thousands of rangatahi gather at “lie in” climate change protest.

Posted by Te Ao Māori News on Thursday, May 23, 2019

Wijohn says it was important for rangatahi to take action today because climate change affects young people the most.

“We’ve seen the evidence that our planet has been destroyed and that our future is at risk. So we’re all scared that our government is going to continue to do nothing for climate change," he says.

Fellow Ngā Puna o Waiōrea student Kaiah Arona, of Ngāti Kahungunu and Te Arawa, was at the protest at Aotea Square as well.

“We say that we're tāngata whenua but we need to support our whenua in order to continue that saying," says the 15-year-old.

#TAIAO Thousands of rangatahi have walked out of the classroom today to take action against climate change. A ‘lie in’...

Posted by Te Ao Māori News on Thursday, May 23, 2019

Meanwhile, in Wellington, thousands marched to parliament, urging the government to do more in the Zero Carbon Bill to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

School Strike 4 Climate New Zealand coordinator Sophie Handford, 18, says they’re demanding all parties in parliament support passing an ambitious Zero Carbon Act into law, that puts in place a legally enforceable plan to get to zero carbon by 2040.

The Zero Carbon Bill currently sets a target of 10 percent reduction in biological methane emissions by 2030. It aims for a provisional reduction ranging from 24 percent to 47 percent by 2050.

Students are also urging the government to end fossil fuels and build a renewable economy.

“This includes not granting any extensions of existing permits. This must be paired with the government’s investment in renewable energy production and sustainable transport systems to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” says Hanford.