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Soapbox: why you should make a submission to the Zero Carbon Bill

Photo: Tobias Keller via Unsplash
Mark Harvey, Political Climate Wrestle (video, detail)
TBI editor James Littlewood makes the case for artists to lead on climate discourse


The Zero Carbon Bill is the mechanism by which the government will achieve carbon neutrality in the New Zealand economy. It may have far reaching implications for many facets of our society. That’s why its champion, the Green Party, wants as much public input as possible. This is your chance to tell the Government how it should be.

Submissions close 5pm, Thursday, 19 July.

Here are three reasons why you should tell the Government what you think.

  1. Pragmatism: some climate solutions are also good for the arts. For example: public transport reduces vehicle emissions, and makes things easier for audiences, too. In a recent interview with TBI, Film Festival director Bill Gosden commented that limited transport infrastructure is the single biggest impediment to the festival’s growth. The very next day, Orchestra Wellington’s chair Ray Ahipene-Mercer said almost exactly the same thing.

  2. Participation: artists are really good at influencing social discourse. They do it all the time. In fact, some folks even believe that artists are obliged to contribute. Here at TBI we’re a bit more laissez faire about what people should and shouldn’t do. But if you’re out to influence, why not influence the decision makers? These opportunities don’t come round every day.

  3. Responsibility: artists use material resources, just like anyone else. So, where do you fit into this? If your practice necessitate some degree of waste, what resources do you need to mitigate that? Group purchasing power to enable local supply? Some kind of specialised waste disposal/recycling requirement? Tell the Government what you need: you can bet that businesses and farms will be.

Mark Harvey: Political Climate Wrestle (video, detail)

PM Jacinda Ardern called climate change the “nuclear issue of our age.” The nuclear issue inspired a range of creative work, some of which has become canonical in its status, from the paintings of Nigel Brown to the poems of Hone Tuwhare. While some artists such as Dane Mitchell and Mark Harvey have put climate front and centre of some works, I feel we have yet to see the Guernica of the anthropocene.

Make your submission here.

You can complete a quick-response survey, or write out a more lengthy one of your own.

Submissions close 5 pm, Thursday, 19 July.