A youth organisation is planning strike action across the country on March 15 to demand urgent action on climate change.
School Strike For Climate NZ organisers say hundreds of students from across the country will join other young people around the world in striking from school to send a strong message to older generations that inaction on climate change will no longer be tolerated.
The organisation has released an open letter that they are gathering signatures on to present to the Government.
An excerpt from the letter reads:
"To our parents, our teachers, and our business and elected leaders. We are your children. Your grandchildren. Your future leaders. We have an urgent message and we need your help.
"For over 50 years we have known that climate breakdown poses an existential threat to life on Earth. We have known that we cannot afford to keep burning fossil fuels, and depleting our oceans, rivers, forests and land. And yet we have continued to do just that.
"Soon we will inherit the consequences of this inaction, and we are scared. Will we have a planet worth passing on to our children? Will we face global conflicts because of resource scarcity? What will we do if the ecosystems we depend on completely collapse? Where will all the people who lose their homes go? These are the questions looming over our generation."
The organisation identifies key objectives as reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner, limiting warming to 1.5C, passing an effective Zero Carbon Act, ensuring paths to reaching emissions targets are fast tracked, well planned and transparent, putting in place mechanisms that will allow future governments to be held to account, having local governments sign on to the Local Government Leaders' Climate Change Declaration and ensuring all plans for climate change action are "socially and intergenerationally just and honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi".
Horowhenua College principal Grant Congdon said it was possible students from the school may be taking part in the strike action but he was not aware of any at this stage.
He said if any students did strike he would like to ask them what outcomes striking from school for a day might achieve.
"I think it is up to individuals to decide whether they support this organisation's stance," he said.
"Personally I agree with the intention of the letter. My personal opinion is that students should not be striking from school to prove their point. It seems ironic that students would strike from school for a day in an attempt to educate the wider public about this issue. Surely schools are where education is most supported so why should schools be penalised by having students strike for a day?"
Congdon said this part of the organisation's plan seemed misguided as schools were likely to be one of the biggest supporters of their message.
Waiopehu College principal Mark Robinson said he was aware of the strike plans, but had not heard that any students from his school were taking part.
He said the two nearest planned events for the day of protest were in Levin and Palmerston North, and that if any students approached the school with plans to attend these, and had parental consent behind them he would support this.
"But not if students think they can just wander around town for a day off," he said.
He supported the concepts behind the campaign, but also felt striking from school may not be the best way to get this across.
"Absolutely I think it's really good young people are taking a leadership role," he said. "I support the message but I'm not sure I'm as supportive the method of action."