Climate change poses one of the biggest threats to New Zealand’s way of life in the years to come and will require coherent, consistent and joint action across central and local government, Local Government New Zealand says.
LGNZ has today launched its new Local Government Position Statement on Climate Change, and a 2017 climate change declaration signed by 44 mayors from around the country.
In a speech launching the position statement this afternoon LGNZ President Lawrence Yule said local government’s vision for New Zealand in 2050 is a vibrant country enjoying environmental, social, cultural and economic prosperity.
How New Zealand responds to climate change now and in years to come will determine in large part how these goals can be met.
“Adapting to and mitigating where possible the effects of climate change is a massive, massive challenge for all of us – local authorities, central government, communities and businesses,” Mr Yule said.
“In the coming years many of our communities will turn to their councils for support. Local government is committed to playing its role by utilising the full range of skills and capabilities it holds to better understand all the consequences and opportunities of climate change, and to consider climate change in its decision making.
“But this is a problem of national scale, in need of a joint, national response. In our view we need to see more from central government on climate change.”
Through the position statement LGNZ seeks a clear statement from central government on responsibilities for government at all levels, private sector and individual for adaptation actions, including fiscal responsibility.
“This is critical,” Mr Yule said. “Climate change is far bigger than what we are equipped to deal with now, and it will take a concerted effort from all parties to build the necessary resilience.
“It’s not too late to do this, but as the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright commented recently, on climate change we need to do more, and we need to do it faster.”
The Declaration, signed by 39 mayors, reiterates the sector’s view on climate change and provided the opportunity for newly elected mayors and chairs to add their names to the declaration.