‘No’ to climate change move

Council rejects declaring an emergency, adopts ‘leadership’ role.

Council rejects declaring an emergency, adopts ‘leadership’ role.

Gisborne district councillors have rejected a move to declare a climate change emergency.

Councillors, sitting as Future Tairawhiti, adopted a recommendation committing the council to a ‘‘regional climate leadership’’ role, which supports a joint and collaborative approach to addressing climate change without dissent.

But councillors rejected a further “emergency declaration” step moved by Josh Wharehinga and seconded by Rehette Stoltz.

Mrs Stoltz, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Mayor Meng Foon, said there was a worldwide move of jurisdictions declaring a climate change emergency.

It was happening around New Zealand.

“Don’t you think it behoves us to take that step to show it is serious.”

Councils in Christchurch, Nelson, Kapiti Coast and Environment Canterbury have made the declaration and Auckland City Council is considering doing likewise.

No, said Pat Seymour, immediately.

Mr Wharehinga said he wanted to make a statement to and on behalf of the community.

Councillors had received much information about the ‘‘massively severe effects’’ of climate change in Tairawhiti such as the erosion of beaches and the difficulties in water provision.

“It is enough for me to declare an emergency and enough for people in the community to see this is an emergency for them.’’

If the declaration was accepted council would need to factor climate change into activities such as building regulations.

Currently climate change was only considered in environment policies.

A statement of an emergency would give staff direction.

The East Coast was susceptible to climate change effects.

The statement needed to be made on behalf of the region, he said.

Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann, asked how it would work, said a declaration was a clear statement to staff that “this needs to be prioritised and to get on with the work”.

It was also a statement to the community about “how important council sees this issue”.

The Zero Carbon Bill was a clear signal that there was an emergency.

“We’re likely to see more regulation in this space.’’

Pat Seymour said sending a message to staff was not consistent with how council operated.

“We don’t go around saying XYZ is an emergency and we need council officers to respond.

“It’s just a play on words.”

The already adopted recommendation gave a clear direction to the community.

The resulting information gained (under the accepted recommendation) was how council responded in its usual course of activity.

Council would move to reflect legislation.

“We don’t need to make a statement when we don’t know what the meaning of its effect is “

The declaration of a climate change emergency was defeated in a voice vote.

Mrs Stoltz said she would have liked to have declared an emergency, but there was no support for it.

Shannon Dowsing said he was not against the regional climate leadership recommendation, but he had concerns.

There was no delivery approach identifying the method, structure or the people who would be involved.

Climate change, by nature, opposed economic drivers and industry.

“I wouldn’t want to see industry lobbyists.”

Council had previously shown a lack of leadership because of economic considerations.

One example he gave was of the new council building only having single glazing and originally failing targets for energy efficiency.

Council had to move forward, but “with ‘teeth’’.

Ms Thatcher Swann said the delivery method would be the next step.

Gisborne District Council had been behind some councils in “advancing the discussion around climate change and how we fed that through to other plans”.

Council was ‘‘catching up”.

Staff would get more data and engage with the community around “how do we adapt to climate change”?

Many industries, nationally, were up to standard.

“That is how the world is going.’’

Amber Dunn said she supported the recommendation.

It was like an insurance policy, she said.

Andy Cranston said he was happy with the recommendation, which he understood committed council to the Local Government Leaders’ Climate Change Declaration.

Gisborne district councillors have rejected a move to declare a climate change emergency.

Councillors, sitting as Future Tairawhiti, adopted a recommendation committing the council to a ‘‘regional climate leadership’’ role, which supports a joint and collaborative approach to addressing climate change without dissent.

But councillors rejected a further “emergency declaration” step moved by Josh Wharehinga and seconded by Rehette Stoltz.

Mrs Stoltz, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Mayor Meng Foon, said there was a worldwide move of jurisdictions declaring a climate change emergency.

It was happening around New Zealand.

“Don’t you think it behoves us to take that step to show it is serious.”

Councils in Christchurch, Nelson, Kapiti Coast and Environment Canterbury have made the declaration and Auckland City Council is considering doing likewise.

No, said Pat Seymour, immediately.

Mr Wharehinga said he wanted to make a statement to and on behalf of the community.

Councillors had received much information about the ‘‘massively severe effects’’ of climate change in Tairawhiti such as the erosion of beaches and the difficulties in water provision.

“It is enough for me to declare an emergency and enough for people in the community to see this is an emergency for them.’’

If the declaration was accepted council would need to factor climate change into activities such as building regulations.

Currently climate change was only considered in environment policies.

A statement of an emergency would give staff direction.

The East Coast was susceptible to climate change effects.

The statement needed to be made on behalf of the region, he said.

Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann, asked how it would work, said a declaration was a clear statement to staff that “this needs to be prioritised and to get on with the work”.

It was also a statement to the community about “how important council sees this issue”.

The Zero Carbon Bill was a clear signal that there was an emergency.

“We’re likely to see more regulation in this space.’’

Pat Seymour said sending a message to staff was not consistent with how council operated.

“We don’t go around saying XYZ is an emergency and we need council officers to respond.

“It’s just a play on words.”

The already adopted recommendation gave a clear direction to the community.

The resulting information gained (under the accepted recommendation) was how council responded in its usual course of activity.

Council would move to reflect legislation.

“We don’t need to make a statement when we don’t know what the meaning of its effect is “

The declaration of a climate change emergency was defeated in a voice vote.

Mrs Stoltz said she would have liked to have declared an emergency, but there was no support for it.

Shannon Dowsing said he was not against the regional climate leadership recommendation, but he had concerns.

There was no delivery approach identifying the method, structure or the people who would be involved.

Climate change, by nature, opposed economic drivers and industry.

“I wouldn’t want to see industry lobbyists.”

Council had previously shown a lack of leadership because of economic considerations.

One example he gave was of the new council building only having single glazing and originally failing targets for energy efficiency.

Council had to move forward, but “with ‘teeth’’.

Ms Thatcher Swann said the delivery method would be the next step.

Gisborne District Council had been behind some councils in “advancing the discussion around climate change and how we fed that through to other plans”.

Council was ‘‘catching up”.

Staff would get more data and engage with the community around “how do we adapt to climate change”?

Many industries, nationally, were up to standard.

“That is how the world is going.’’

Amber Dunn said she supported the recommendation.

It was like an insurance policy, she said.

Andy Cranston said he was happy with the recommendation, which he understood committed council to the Local Government Leaders’ Climate Change Declaration.

Committed to collaborative approach

Gisborne District Council has committed to a region-wide, collaborative approach to address the local causes and impacts of climate change.

The Future Tairawhiti committee has agreed on a comprehensive approach, which includes strategic adaptations to core council infrastructure and internal policies to reduce and mitigate council’s own greenhouse gas emissions.

A statement from the district council said that taking a regional leadership role provided the framework for council to align with central government and community organisations to transition to a low carbon economy and the effects of climate change.

“It’s likely climate change will bring warmer temperatures, more extreme weather patterns and rising sea levels — all of which will have environmental, social, economic and cultural impacts,” the statement said.

“Issues such as drought, water security and flooding are expected to become more severe, and existing challenges for the region around coastal erosion and sedimentation may be exacerbated.

“This year has seen increased public debate on the urgent need for government action in response to climate change. Two other councils have declared region-wide climate change emergencies.”

This latest decision is council’s first formal confirmation of its role in relation to climate change.

The direction will be incorporated into a more detailed climate change response following the anticipated adoption of the Spatial Plan later this year.

Director of transformation and relationships, Keita Kohere, says a focus on future proofing and resilience building is needed for council functions and operations.

“Through the Spatial Planning workshops completed so far, the community signalled a clear desire for council to take a leadership role in climate change.

“It is widely accepted internationally that the costs of inaction or delayed action outweigh the cost of acting now.”

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John Fricker - 2 months ago
Why are our dozy councillors wasting time on this issue?
Climate change, if a person believes in it, is a Governmental affair.
I'd say that Gisborne contributes the equivalent of around one cow fart to global CO2 emissions. A long one perhaps but more than a burp.
The length of this story is mind-boggling and easily the longest story I've read in the Herald this year. It is the most obvious indicator of how left wing, liberal, progressive, acaedemics love to fiddle whilst "Rome Burns"
This place is going to the dogs regardless of your daft story about us being a "Five Star" economy. I feel no need to point out the obvious, Gisbornites are all too aware of our local shortcomings.
The Herald and its liberal views are complicit in this deceit - quite sad when you think about it.
On a brighter note, at least our daft councillors came up with the correct response.

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