Letter to James Shaw (after a brief chat yesterday).

Here is the first section of my letter to James Shaw after our brief chat on Wednesday (the rest of my letter to James was similar to the letter to the PM):

30th July 2020

Dear James, 

Thank you very much for taking the time to come and speak with us on Wednesday. It was a pleasure to meet you and feel your genuine warmth and sincerity.

Thank you also for expressing concern about my wellbeing. Our time was short so I only gave a brief response. Please be reassured that I am taking my wellbeing very seriously. I had a thorough medical check up before coming to Wellington. I am also measuring my vital signs twice daily, plus monitoring my heartbeat 24 hours. Most importantly, I am not doing a pure water-only fast: I am taking electrolyte, mineral and vitamin supplements and this mitigates many of the risks of hunger striking.

I end my hunger strike this Monday 3rd August and Robin Treadwell will pick up the hunger strike baton from me then. There are other hunger strikers waiting to go in relay with Robin and me. We are hoping to keep this action going until the election and possibly beyond, to hold the new Government to account. We aren’t calling on people to hunger strike, but say only do that if the hunger strike call is irresistible. Our action can continue as either a vigil or a hunger strike. 

Our aim is to increase the public mandate for politicians to act on the eco-crisis. We aim to encourage voting for politicians who recognise the urgency and scale of the eco-crisis; who care about our childrens’ future and care about the Earth’s gravely threatened ecology that supports us all.

I have voted Green all my life since it became an option, but that is feeling less certain for me now (although I see no better alternative). As I said to you, I am not hearing from you a recognition of the urgency, scale and gravity of the eco-crisis. Making a gradual transition to electric cars simply doesn’t cut the mustard here. Planting a billion trees is good, if they are the right trees for the ecology and the future adaptive challenge, however that alone also doesn’t cut the mustard. The status quo needs urgently to be turned completely upside down and inside out, to give any hope of a future for our children and grandchildren. In this regard, it was very good to hear your support for citizens’ assemblies.

Greta Thunberg said: “I don’t want your hope. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day, and then I want you to act. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.” I add to Greta’s words: Our house is on fire and our children are inside. The flames are fueled by coal, oil and gas: unless the entire world turns off the tap, there is no hope for our children’s future. 

I am not hearing the truth from you or the Government about this unprecedented, catastrophic eco-crisis. Current actions fall drastically short of the problem.

You are the climate change minister, this is your area of responsibility. As a Green party co-leader and minister for climate change, it is your responsibility now to at least speak the truth.

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1 Response to Letter to James Shaw (after a brief chat yesterday).

  1. Deb says:

    Hi David
    With respect, I think your letter to James Shaw is overly harsh.
    The Greens have been almost entirely excluded from the coalitions’ functioning. NZ First has maintained an iron control over Labour, scuppering and disrupting decision-making, while disregarding the Greens & everything they represent as irrelevant.
    James Shaw has remained a dignified statesman while holding the Greens together. They’ve played a hand of patience, proving their credibility as a party in Government and doing what very little was possible via Shaw’s Associate Climate Minister’s seat.
    I intend to vote Greens again this time in the hope they’ll form a coalition with Labour, ditching NZ (head) First into the steaming pile they deserve. Let’s give the Green and Red flag a chance so we can focus on the Climate.

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