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Thousands of students to skip school today to march for urgent action on climate change

As New Zealand students prepare to take to the streets to protest climate change, they're doing so with the cautious backing of their prime minister.

Thousands of young New Zealanders across the country are expected to join counterparts in Australia and around the world today in skipping classes to rally against government inaction on climate change.

While New Zealand's Labour-led administration banned future oil exploration last year and is currently working on emissions reform, organisers of the protest say it's not enough.

"We've seen (our prime minister) is taking this seriously and has met with us, and we can see we've already started making an impact," organiser Raven Maeder told RNZ.

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    Jacinda Ardern would not say whether she supports students’ planned school walkout over climate change inaction. Source: 1 NEWS

    "(But) we don't believe any political party is currently doing enough to safeguard our future."

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern answered questions about the environment from students at a town-hall style meeting in Wellington ahead of the protest this week, saying they needed to be heard.

    "I think too often we make this assessment that in order to have an impact, you have to be of voting age. That is just not the case," she said.

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      The upcoming protest is being described as a “stunt” by some. Source: 1 NEWS

      "Don't underestimate the power of your voice."

      Ms Ardern said she understood and even expected young people to be confronting the issue, she stopped short of telling pupils to skip class to protest.

      "That's a matter for them and their parents ... If (my daughter) Neve asked me, we'd have that discussion," she told reporters.

      The New Zealand strike, which includes a march on parliament, has received the backing of hundreds of academics, teachers, unions and members of the government.

      Like in Australia and Britain, some conservative politicians and commentators have been less than keen on students missing a day of school for the event.

      The global strikes have been inspired by 15-year-old Greta Thunberg's protest in Sweden last year.

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        Taking place on a school day, the march against climate change has been met with a mixed reaction. Source: Breakfast