Sixteen of NZ's most prestigious health professional
organisations are today calling for action on climate change and
health, pressing for New Zealand to take urgent action on this
critical health issue.
These health groups represent large bodies of doctors, nurses,
midwives, public health workers, and medical students. They are
calling on the NZ government, the health sector, and all levels of
society to make an urgent transition to a low-emissions NZ, in a
way that boosts health and creates a fairer society.
The release of the NZ 'Call for Action' coincides with a global
day of action by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians
(RACP) and the issuing of a their global Statement'Act now to
reduce the damaging health impacts of climate change' aimed at
the UN global climate negotiations in Paris in December.
Dr Alex Macmillan from the NZ Climate and Health Council says
"leading health organisations all around the world are spotlighting
the potentially devastating health impacts of climate change in
this important year for global negotiations".
Health threats for New Zealanders include illness and injury
from heat waves and extreme weather events, changing patterns of
infectious diseases, and wider health impacts from mass population
migration, and conflict.
"Māori, Pacific people, children, the elderly, and those on low
incomes will face the biggest health impacts in the short-term in
NZ, but very few people will be immune to the wide health and
social threats of unchecked climate change" says Dr Macmillan.
However, well-planned action to reduce climate-damaging
emissions could improve health and wellbeing, and help NZ ease
pressure on the national health budget.
"Rapid moves to more walking, cycling and public transport;
healthier plant based diets; and energy efficient, warm homes and
buildings will all help cut emissions while also reducing obesity,
heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and respiratory disease" says Dr
"With urgent, health-centred climate action we can reduce this
major health threat, as well as creating a healthy, fair and more
resilient NZ and global community".
Alex Macmillan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
is a Public Health Physician and Senior Lecturer at the University
of Otago and Co-Convenor of OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and
Health professional groups that have signed the NZ 'Climate
Change and Health, Health Professionals Joint Call for Action':
- The Health Organisations that have signed the NZ 'Call
for Action' include:
• OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council
• The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
• The New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA)
• NZ Nurses Organisation
• Health Promotion Forum of NZ
• Australasian College for Emergency Medicine
• NZ College of Public Health Medicine
• NZ College of Midwives
• Public Health Association of NZ
• Colleges of Nurses Aotearoa NZ
• New Zealand Society of Anaesthetists
• The University of Auckland Faculty of Medical and Health
• The University of Otago Division of Health
• Auckland University Medical Students
• Medical Students for Global Awareness
• NZ Medical Students Association
Full text of the NZ 'Call for Action' on Climate Change and
Royal Australasian College of Physicians Consensus
About Climate Change and Health Implications for
Information is available in the following open access paper from
the 2014 NZ Medical Journal: 'Health and equity impacts of climate
change in Aotearoa-New Zealand, and health gains from climate
action'. available at: