'It won't help the world one bit': MPs slam students' protest on climate change

More school strikes are on the way, but this time it's not the teachers - it's the students.

Thousands of New Zealand students are planning to join a worldwide protest against climate change next week, but politicians are divided over whether it's a legitimate reason to skip school.

The protest was organised in New Zealand by Porirua's Sophie Handford.

"We will be the ones that have to grow up through and live through the repercussions of this generation's choices," she says.

The movement was kickstarted by 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg and her speech to the United Nations.

"You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes," said Ms Thunberg, who plans to strike every Friday until Sweden cuts emissions by 15 percent a year.

Next week students around the world will join her.

"The more days that we leave inaction, the smaller the window becomes before our actions become irreversible and before we can't do anything about it," says Ms Handford.

Scientists say climate change will increase the frequency of droughts and floods, cause the extinction of plants and animals, and increase the spread of diseases and erosion.

But does that justify a student strike?

National MP Judith Collins doesn't seem to think so.

When asked if she thinks their concerns about climate change are genuine, she said: "Oh, I'm sure they are, but the thing is that their little protest is not going to help the world one bit."

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters also didn't seem very inspired by the idea: "We pay a lot of money for people to get educated. Attending school is compulsory in this country."

And National leader Simon Bridges said it was just a chance for students to take a day off school and "muck about".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was more cautioned in her response, saying: "What I'd like to think is in New Zealand there is less cause for protest. We are certainly trying to do our bit."

But Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said she supports the idea: "I think it's a valid part of an education system."

When asked to clarify if 'wagging' a class is an important part of New Zealand's education system, she said: "It's not wagging."

It was a mixed bag of support and finger-wagging from those that run the country, but it's publicity nonetheless.