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Former Labour MP calls for 'inequality emergency' in wake of Government's climate announcement

A former Labour MP is calling for an "inequality emergency" to be declared, after the Government announced a climate emergency last week. 

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Sue Moroney says Labour needs to use its strong mandate to start fixing inequality in New Zealand. Source: Q+A

On TVNZ1’s Q+A panel this morning, Sue Moroney said the Government, with its “strong mandate”, had the ability to start tackling growing inequality in New Zealand. 

“Naming it [climate change] as an emergency is important,” she said. 

“I'd like us to name inequality as being an emergency in this country as well because it’s all very well to have a healthy environment, but if your people are sick, then it’s not going to go very well at all.”

Moroney said with the Government declaring a climate emergency, it was a signal the Government was confident enough to use its mandate. 

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"We must act with urgency," Jacinda Ardern told the house. Source: 1 NEWS

Māori Council executive director Matthew Tukaki, who joined Moroney on the panel, said declaring a climate emergency was a good start. 

“I think it's a great thing, but how much of it was just about the noise versus the real mahi that needs to be done,” he said. 

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“It’s [declaring a climate emergency] good for media, it’s good for marketing, it’s good for branding … but what happens next? 

“We could declare any sort of emergency in this country - an emergency when it comes to suicide, an emergency on homelessness, an emergency on jobs.” 

Public relations consultant and former National government press secretary Ben Thomas told the panel the climate emergency declaration was “basically all talk”. 

“The one concrete point in the climate emergency declaration - which is the goal that the Government becomes carbon neutral 2025 - you could almost see that sort of written in by crayon the night before to give a bit of substance to the announcement.”

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He added: “They’ve been very careful not to put concrete targets on anything so far. 

“They’ve really learnt that lesson of over promising and under delivering,” Thomas said, making reference to Labour’s failed promises of KiwiBuild and light rail in Auckland.