Otamatea High School students protesting against climate change recently will be pleased with KDC’s decision

Council signs climate declaration

by Paul Campbell

Kaipara District Council has agreed to sign up to a document that commits it to recognising the issue of climate change and working towards solutions.

The Local Government New Zealand Leaders’ Climate Change Declaration was agreed to, and a resolution to sign up was passed at the council meeting held last week. The declaration states that climate change presents ‘significant opportunities, challenges and risks to communities throughout the world and in New Zealand. Local and regional government undertakes a wide range of activities that will be impacted by climate change and provides infrastructure and services useful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing resilience.

‘We believe that New Zealand has much at stake and much to gain by adopting strong leadership on climate change emission reduction targets. Central and local government, working together with communities and business, can develop and implement ambitious strategies based on sound science, to protect our national inheritance and security’.

KDC says that with two harbours and a large coastline, Kaipara has significant exposure to predicted sea level rise — one big climate change risk.

The decision to sign was important for Mayor Jason Smith “because Kaipara people are concerned and council has a responsibility to show leadership here.

“KDC is already engaged actively in climate change work across many areas, and this declaration sends a further clear signal that we’re taking this seriously. I’m proud Kaipara is standing up here, joining with others declaring climate change to be an issue we’re working on.”

Dr Smith noted that at the same time as KDC made its decision, on the other side of the world the UK Parliament declared a Climate Emergency for the United Kingdom.

“We’re not alone with our concerns, and the history books will show the timing of Kaipara’s aspirational declaration aligns with what’s going on in other places.”

The motion passed, and within a week Mayor Smith’s signature will join leaders of more than 60 other councils who have already signed the LGNZ Leaders’ Climate Change Declaration.

To read the declaration as it currently stands visit lgnz.co.nz/our-work/publications/local-government-leaders-climate-change-declaration-2017/