City academics to petition MPs

Alan Mark.
Alan Mark.
Dunedin academics are among those on a quest to get New Zealand's political leadership to start preparing the country for future challenges such as climate change and economic instability.

As part of the Wise Response Appeal, Emeritus Prof Sir Alan Mark will lead a group, including University of Otago physics Assoc Prof Bob Lloyd, on to the steps of Parliament tomorrow to ask politicians of all parties to take ''objective stock of five global and national risks'' to New Zealand's' future security.

They will present its appeal and petition of about 6000 signatures to representatives of the Labour, Green and New Zealand First parties.

There had been no confirmation a National Party representative would attend, he said.

As well as Prof Mark and Assoc Prof Lloyd, engineer Gerry Te Kapa Coates, economist Dr Geoff Bertram and former Waikato University vice-chancellor Dr Bryan Gould planned to speak.

They would be targeting New Zealand's heavy dependence on carbon, how another financial crash would affect the country and the precarious state of the environment, he said.

''And, because of their interconnectedness, how a crisis in any one area would destabilise others.''

Dr Gould said conventional thinking made sustainability of the environment a side issue.

''We need to change that mindset.''

The appeal will then be presented to Parliament by Labour's environment and climate change spokeswoman Moana Mackie.

A range of Wise Response supporters were also expected to attend and youth climate action group Generation Zero would support the cause with street theatre.

rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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