Written By: - Date published: 9:29 am, February 20th, 2019 - 78 comments
Categories: accountability, climate change, global warming, local government, Politics, sustainability - Tags: denis tegg, sandra goudie
There is this radical subversive group engaged in the undermining of the Kiwi way of life and advocating that we forgo our way of life and eat less red meat, drive more efficient cars and catch public transport more regularly.
Who is this group?
Is it Greenpeace? The People’s republic of China?
No it is Local Government New Zealand, a collective representing all local authorities in New Zealand.
It has drafted up the Local Government Leaders’ Climate Change Declaration. The declaration contains this passage:
We ask that the New Zealand Government make it a priority to develop and implement an ambitious transition plan for a low carbon and resilient New Zealand. We stress the benefits of early action to moderate the costs of adaptation to our communities. We are all too aware of challenges we face shoring up infrastructure and managing insurance costs. These are serious financial considerations for councils and their communities.
To underpin this plan, we ask that a holistic economic assessment is undertaken of New Zealand’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and of the opportunities and benefits for responding. We believe that New Zealand has much at stake and much to gain by adopting strong leadership on climate change emission reduction targets.
It talks about the precautionary approach, kaitiakitanga, equity and justice, thinking and acting long-term, understanding, cooperation and resilience, all subversive stuff.
It is signed by comrades Dave Cull, Lianne Dalziel, Grant Smith, Ray Wallace, Phil Goff, Justin Lester and forty eight other mayors.
Strangely it does not have universal support.
Thames Coromandel Mayor and former National Party MP Sandra Goudie has expressed reservations and called the desire to save the world’s environment “politically charged”.
From Kate Gudsell at Radio New Zealand:
… mayor Sandra Goudie said she did not support it and most other councillors were cautious.
It would be irresponsible for the declaration to be signed because the council did not know what it would be committing ratepayers to, she said.
“It’s got statements which bind you to outcomes that you’ve got no idea of, so I wouldn’t sign a contract without knowing specifications.”
But she said the council was being proactive in terms of ensuring the community was protected and resilient in its vulnerable coastal areas.
Mrs Goudie refused to confirm whether she believed climate change was happening, saying she did not have an obligation to tell ratepayers what her opinion was.
Mrs Goudie said she was not obliged to reveal her stance on climate change because “I think it’s incredibly highly politically charged and driven and I don’t think that makes for a good basis for sound judgment”.
Get that? It would be irresponsible to commit to doing something about climate change.
My interest peaked at her statement that the Council was being proactive in terms of protection and resilience. This is the Council that granted consent to a retirement village and then put a coastal hazard inundation notation on the title warning that the village was in a potential coastal flood zone.
Denis Tegg, who has documented Thames Coromandel’s problems handling the implications of climate change, said this about the decision:
This is the appropriate response from TCDC because it helps inform prospective purchasers of units within the retirement village – including the new apartment building – that the land is subject to coastal flooding. Unfortunately, it comes too late for those retirees who have already committed their savings to buy a dwelling or unit in the last 14 years.
But from now on at least it helps the buyer beware – (provided they or their solicitor checks the title and become aware of the natural hazard notation.) Also, the registration of the notation goes some way to protect TCDC from civil legal claims for granting a building consent for the new apartment complex on land known to be subject to a natural hazard. (Section 392 of the Building Act 2004)
But this belated action of TCDC in registering a hazard notation on the title is of no benefit to existing holders of licenses to occupy in the Richmond Villas complex. Since the original consent was granted in 2003 scores of retirees have made their decision to purchase a dwelling or unit without the advantage of knowing about a notation of a sea flood hazard. Those current residents have been left high and dry – or more accurately low and potentially wet.
There are apparently 23 authorities who have not signed up to the declaration. I presume this dinosaur authority is one of them.
We have local government elections later this year. I hope that as candidate’s views on what to do about climate change is the first thing that voters consider.