Green Party co-leader James Shaw has called on school students to start a "rolling series of climate strikes" until next year's election to put pressure on politicians and businesses to take greater action.
Shaw, who is also Climate Change Minister, spoke outside Parliament where hundreds of students who'd skipped school for the day joined a global climate strike.
Thousands of students nationwide are involved in marches and rallies, organised by global movement Fridays For Future, and were joining countries across the world taking part over the course of the day.
Students are gathered in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and New Plymouth to draw attention to global warming and demand action from leaders.
Wellington's School Strike 4 Climate group has outlined six key demands, including the country's biggest greenhouse gas emitter - the agricultural sector - but also transport emissions.
Students from Kāpiti said they wanted to "change the future of New Zealand".
Imogen Weir told Newstalk ZB it was especially important to protest after Covid-19 restrictions prevented them from occurring over the past two years.
"Getting out here is really important, especially after that large gap.
"Obviously the climate isn't taking a gap. We need to show our support now more than ever."
Shaw meanwhile called for greater action from youth, which he said had a direct impact on policy.
"We're pushing every day for stronger action on climate change. And we're making way too little progress for my liking.
"But your voices have made a huge difference."
Shaw referred to the 2019 protests when an estimated 175,000 people marched across the country, including 40,000 in Wellington.
He said the power of that protest helped get through the Zero Carbon Act and 1.5C warming threshold.
"It is because of young people that we even have the Zero Carbon Act in this country."
Shaw then urged more action.
"Please make today the first day of a rolling series of climate strikes between now and the general election because we need to rebuild the momentum that we had before the pandemic.
"We have to put so much more pressure on our other politicians and our businesses around the country to pick up the pace."