Lloyd Burr on School Strike 4 Climate: 'How do they even know what they stand for?'

Children taking part in the School Strike 4 Climate appear to be confused about what they stand for, according to AM host Lloyd Burr.  

Students will walk out of school across New Zealand on Friday as part of a call for action on climate change - but also "fighting for Te Tiriti", Palestine and lowering Aotearoa's voting age to 16.

"Previously, we've always been focused on just climate justice and our demands have pretty much been focused on that - but we believe that, this time around, our voices are so much stronger together, and we're standing as one, united," spokesperson Nate Wilbourne told AM on Friday. 

Associate Education Minister David Seymour said in a statement the strikers needed to be in school learning.  

"That would be more helpful than going out and 'striking for the climate.' I'd expect schools to treat someone protesting as an absence."  

Burr also couldn't get his head around the strike.  

"I just think, 'Come on, just go to school, learn your stuff.' Yes, you've got all these values but it's not even a climate strike; there's Palestine thrown in there, there's the honour the Treaty Bill thrown in there as well," Burr said on AM after Wilbourne's appearance.  

"How do they even know what they stand for...? It just seems to be so idealistic but, anyway, good on them... just do it on a Saturday."  

But the protesters had the backing of Opposition MPs, including Labour's Willie Jackson.  

"It's shocking that you've got a Government where, instead of encouraging some of these young people... they've got to punish everyone," he said, referring to the Coalition's consideration to fine parents of truant children

"This [protest] is not just about the climate... these kids are protesting about everything actually." 

Children were saying "this is absolutely abhorrent what's happening with this Government", Jackson told AM.

Senior minister Paul Goldsmith, appearing alongside Jackson, said children should always be at school.

"We've got a... real [truancy] challenge in his country and so we're looking at various options to change those statistics.

"In terms of protest? Well, I'd certainly be encouraging my kids to be at school rather than out protesting but, ultimately, that's a judgement that each school and each parent and each child has to make how they deal with that.

"Obviously, it's important for people to be able to protest in a reasonable way but, look, I don't think anybody would argue with the fact that we've got a real issue with kids going to school and being in regular attendance."

In a statement, School Strike 4 Climate said the protests were about protecting "the future of Papatūānuku and rangatahi in Aotearoa and around the world".

It wasn't just a climate strike but "a call for justice", the movement said.