General strike for climate: everything you need to know

The School Strike 4 Climate has been widened to a general nationwide strike. Ten of thousands of New Zealanders are expected to skip work and classes today. Here is your guide to what’s going on, and where.

What and when?

The School Strike 4 Climate movement has invited people of all ages to a nationwide strike today. More than 40 rallies and marches are planned around the country and upwards of 90 businesses, including The Spinoff, have committed to downing tools and joining the movement.

In Auckland, protestors will gather at noon at Aotea Square.

Hamilton protestors are meeting at Civic Square at 1pm.

In Tauranga, it’s a 12pm start at the south end of The Strand.

Wellington protestors are meeting at 11am at Civic Square ahead of a march on parliament.

In Christchurch, protestors will gather at 1pm in Cathedral Square.

Dunedin’s strike kicks off at 12pm outside the Dental School ahead of  a march to the Octagon.

Events are also planned in Whangārei, Lower Hutt, Dunsandel, Porirua, Greymouth, Golden Bay, Thames, Whanganui, Foxton, Nelson, Kāpiti, Hawke’s Bay, Alexandra, New Plymouth, Timaru, Whakatāne, Gisborne, Great Barrier Island, Palmerston North, Invercargill, Kaitaia, Kerikeri, Marlborough, Taupō, Motueka, Karamea, Coromandel, Opunake, Rotorua, Opononi and Wānaka. In Oamaru, Forest and Bird and the Waitaki Girls’ High School Environment Club will be planting trees after school at Cape Wanbrow.

School Strike 4 Climate NZ’s Sophie Handford said opening the strike to workers and employers strengthened the movement and diversified their base.

“We know that everyone has a reason to care about climate justice so it’s incredibly powerful to see so many people connecting with their ‘why’, across different ages and backgrounds. There is strength in our diversity, there is power in our voices and we are committed to continuing this movement until our demands are met”.

The Spinoff is only a little bit on strike and will still be following the protests as they develop. Send us your stories and pics to info@thespinoff.co.nz.

The school strike movement was sparked by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who began a weekly vigil at parliament in Sweden last September, demanding a huge upscaling of action on climate change.

In a speech at COP24, she said: “I’ve learned you are never too small to make a difference. If a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to.” 

This week, in a speech at the United Nations, Thunberg again chastised world leaders for doing sweet fuck all beyond talking about the impending climate catastrophe.

“My message is that we’ll be watching you,” Thunberg said. “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you.”

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you.”

Join us and help us hire new
political & climate reporters
Find Out More

Her remarks sparked a collective meltdown among New Zealand’s big strong media boys, who screeched at the instigator of a global movement of millions that her emotion was counterproductive. Very brave men like the incoherent president of the United States similarly shit their pants, whinging on Twitter about a teenager who doesn’t want to watch the collapse of the biosphere.  

Elsewhere, the stupider parts of the internet whinged about a global cabal of leftists manipulating a child who they say is clearly too young and idiotic to co-sign the opinion of 99% of the scientific community.

Fortunately, the future belongs not to the idiotic and uninformed but to the youth, and today they – and the rest of us – strike again.


Love The Spinoff? The best way to support us is to join The Spinoff Members. For just $2 a week you can help us hire more journalists – and receive a FREE copy of our first book.


The Spinoff is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.