Local government leaders unite to press for more urgent action on climate change

Local government leaders from across New Zealand have united to push for urgent and more ambitious Government action to address the effects of climate change.

Penny Hulse, Deputy Mayor of Auckland, announced the Local Government Leaders Climate Change Declaration at the Australia-New Zealand Climate Change and Business Conference in Auckland today.

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule said councils are keenly aware of the challenges they face due to the impacts of climate change – including rising sea levels. The declaration is a collective recognition led by Mayors of the larger cities of the need for urgent action to address climate change for the benefit of future generations.

“It encourages Government to be more ambitious with climate change mitigation measures and underlines our support for Government to work with councils, communities and businesses to develop and implement an ambitious transition plan towards a low carbon and resilient New Zealand,” said Mr Yule.
“It also outlines key commitments our councils will take in responding to the opportunities and risks posed by climate change and recommends important guiding principles for responding to it.”

In particular, the declaration calls for Government to prioritise development a holistic economic assessment of New Zealand’s vulnerability to impacts of climate change and the opportunities and benefits of responding to these.

In the declaration, Mayors commit to a range of actions including developing and implementing action plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support resilience within their own local communities.

These include promoting low carbon transport options, like walking, cycling and public transport, working to improve the resource efficiency and health of residential and business properties and supporting the use of renewable energy and uptake of electric vehicles.
They also commit to working with communities to promote understanding about and best preparation for the physical impacts of climate change and with Central Government to deliver on national emission reduction targets.

“We stress the benefits of early action to moderate the costs of adaptation to our communities,” said Mr Yule.

“We are all too aware of the challenges we face shoring up infrastructure and managing insurance costs. These are serious financial considerations for councils and their communities.”

“New Zealand has much at stake and much to gain by adopting strong leadership on climate change and ambitious emission reduction targets at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCOP) meeting in Paris in December,” said Mr Yule.