23 Aug 2019

Climate protester marks 100 days at Parliament

From Checkpoint, 5:43 pm on 23 August 2019

For 100 days - rain, hail, and shine - Ollie Langridge has been camped out at Parliament with one message.

He wants politicians to declare a climate emergency. 

Unfortunately, that call to action has not been accepted - yet.

At lunchtime, several hundred students, protesters and curious passers-by grabbed a billboard and cheered as Ollie Langridge took to the stage on Parliament's grounds. 

"Welcome everybody and thank you for being here today - I am humbled and overwhelmed by your support," he told the cheering crowd

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Today is Ollie Langridge's 100th day at Parliament calling for politicians to declare a climate emergency. Photo: RNZ / Jonathan Mitchell

Watching on were politicians from Labour and the Greens - including Chloe Swarbrick, who has failed to get a climate emergency across the line in Parliament. 

However, she called for the crowd to be staunch in their beliefs and keep fighting. 

"The first step that you can make is to call it out - and to demand action - and to use your feet and to not switch off - because divided we will never ever ever win this," she said. 

Protesters came from far and wide to be with Ollie Langridge today.

Jane O'Shea travelled south from Hamilton. 

"The Antarctic is starting to melt in a way that the scientists said would happen at the end of the century," she said. 

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Jane O'Shea travelled from Hamilton for the protest. Photo: RNZ / Jonathan Mitchell

Meanwhile, Dianne Kearns-Murphy, a grandmother, said the politicians needed to act now. 

"We need to leave the planet in a much better place than it already is - we're running out of time already to change it - and I want them to have as good a country - as good a life as I had growing up," she said. 

And high school student Rata, with a number of her mates, took the day off school to protest. 

She had this message to MPs.

"You need to just make a change because climate change is not slowing down - it is actually speeding up - and you need to make a change and do it now because soon it is going to be too late," she said.

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Dianne Kearns-Murphy wants politicians to act now. Photo: RNZ / Jonathan Mitchell

"The goal of a climate change emergency has not been achieved within the 100 days - but that's not yet - so I live in a lot of hope with a lot of faith and a lot of courage and determination that what we've got to do now is just make a lot more conversations happen in that building and a lot faster," he said. 

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Rata (left) and some of her friends took the day off school to protest. Photo: RNZ / Jonathan Mitchell

He said he's copped a lot of flak from members of the public about his protest, including for having five children.

"They equate the problems around climate change to the number of children - I say 'no I don't believe you - I don't think that's true'," he said. 

Ollie Langridge planned to scale back his protesting on Parliament's lawn to each Friday - in the hope that he would be joined by many others to get the message across.