James Shaw thanks Blackcaps star Jimmy Neesham for supporting climate change interview

James Shaw has thanked a Kiwi cricketer for supporting an interview the minister gave about teaching climate change in school - described by an Opposition MP as a "shocker". 

Blackcaps star Jimmy Neesham said on Twitter he wanted to take his hat off to Shaw for his "calmness" during the interview with Magic Talk's Sean Plunket. 

"I almost threw my phone at the wall four times," Neesham, who boasts more than 189,000 followers on Twitter, said. 

The New Zealand cricketer, 29, has been outspoken about his support for climate change activism, recently telling the BBC he feels a responsibility to be a good role model. 

"As role models, it is important to keep abreast of what is going on and have at least a passing knowledge of global social issues like politics and climate change."

Shaw, co-leader of the Green Party, clashed with Plunket in the interview earlier this week, after being invited to discuss a new teacher resource announced on Sunday for educating year 7-10 students about climate change. 

The optional resource has sparked controversy with claims from Opposition MPs that it doesn't allow room for debate about the science and encourages students to idolise activists like Greta Thunberg

Shaw defended the syllabus in his interview with Plunket, telling the radio host the teaching resource is "based on the science so you can dispute that all you like".

Plunket shot back: "Well, clearly you can't dispute that all you like if you're an intermediate school kid... you're going to be told you can't dispute it."

Shaw replied: "Of course you can, but you'd have to go to town against the entire New Zealand scientific community and suggest that they were wrong."

Blackcaps star Jimmy Neesham.
Blackcaps star Jimmy Neesham. Photo credit: Photosport

National MP Scott Simpson blasted Shaw earlier this week over what he described as a "shocker of an interview", saying the minister "is usually over his brief, but sadly he wasn't that day". 

But Neesham and his fan base disagree. 

"Well said Mr Neeshman," one person replied to the cricketer's tweet supporting Shaw, while another said they could "sense" that Shaw wanted to throw his phone at the wall, too. 

"Thanks," Shaw replied to Neesham's tweet, with a smiley-face emoji. 

Shaw told Newshub a warming planet "is the reality kids today are facing" and it's "only right that they have the opportunity to discuss what this means, talk about solutions, ask questions and find their own answers". 

ACT leader David Seymour has criticised aspects of the resource such as an activity called "myth buster role-play" where one student will play the role of an 'activist' for climate change and the other a 'sceptic'. 

"I just think that sort of exercise, given that it doesn't provide any sort of resource or credence to why people might be sceptical, amounts to state-organised bullying of kids." 

The resource includes lessons on understanding the difference between climate and weather, how climate change could affect New Zealand, and New Zealand's current commitments to tackling the issue. 

The pilot was picked up by the Ministry of Education, and cites sources including the Ministry for the Environment, Stats NZ, the Department of Conservation, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Shaw said the Green Party's priority is to "leave behind a world that is safe for our kids and grandkids".

He said that will require "efforts from every one of us to improve the way we farm, design our cities, and produce energy for things like transport and heating our homes".

"The new climate change resource simply reflects this reality."

You can read more about the resource here