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Candidates candid on climate change

The coastal road on a stormy day at Cape Palliser. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

With council elections fast approaching, Local Democracy Reporter EMILY IRELAND asks mayoral candidates whether councils should be spending ratepayer money on climate change initiatives.

MASTERTON

Craig Bowyer

Not sure.

I can see benefits in making public transport more affordable [ie the train], however this should be paid for by central government. We can’t tax people twice for the one thing. All council vehicles should, as they come up for renewal be electric, charged from solar panels installed on top of council buildings.

Gary Caffell

Yes.

Climate change is hugely important but from a funding perspective, the responsibility must fall much more heavily at the feet of central government than local government. Councils can show support through the composting and electric vehicle situations and through educating their community on how they best can help the climate change cause.

Jo Hayes

Yes.

Councils should have a climate change plan and policy. They should include climate change activities in their annual and 10-year planning documents. The public should also be engaged in prioritising climate change activities with the council.

Bill Izard

No.

Council should not be using ratepayers’ money for climate change. This is government policy. Any major initiatives should be spent by government, however, we can be tidier ourselves. Electric vehicles [EV] should be used publicly; our very own Transit bus company is converting buses to EV.

Tina Nixon

No.

This is another example of unfunded mandates. Government has set the policy but has not provided funding. They are issues we need to address but need funding to make them work. Our council has increased the electric cars in the fleet, which I support, but they are not the panacea to climate change due to environmental issues around batteries.

Masterton mayoral candidate Hakepa did not respond.

CARTERTON

Greg Lang

Yes.

Carterton can’t stop the world’s climate changing but we need to invest in coping with the impacts. For example, we need to work with coastal communities and people in flood-prone areas to meet the challenges that lie ahead. The good news is that everything we do to help means a cleaner, healthier environment.

Ron Mark

Yes and no.

Council’s first priority is to operate and maintain safe and reliable services and to building infrastructure to cater for growth of the district. It should focus on educating constituents on sustainable living habits and to considering clean energy vehicles, plant and machinery where pragmatic and where it is cost-effective.

SOUTH WAIRARAPA

Alex Beijen

Yes.

Climate change is affecting us already, and given central government is talking without doing, we need to implement change on the ground. This is happening already. Any major costs and how they are funded, however, needs to be clearly stated in an Annual Plan, and get approval from residents.

Martin Connelly

Yes.

Governments exist to solve collective problems. Climate change affects us all. It will have a greater impact in Wairarapa than elsewhere. We all have a role to play in reducing human impact on the environment. But councils have a key role helping our communities getting ready for change.

Daphne Geisler

Yes.

If we are to create a better future for our grandchildren we all need to address climate change as a priority. Council, working with the community must lead the way and play a role by modelling their own activities and behaviours and encouraging others to adapt and change.

Brenda West

Yes.

Environmental well-being is one of the four council community outcomes. By investing in climate change initiatives, I believe this will help lessen the future burden and provide a sustainable future. If we haven’t learned from Three Waters, are we destined to make the same mistake? – NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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