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Inquiry Into Climate Change Heats Up

Key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and global warming will be reducing Aucklanders dependence on the private motor vehicle according to Auckland City Council.

Councillor Richard Northey, Chairman of the City's Advocacy Committee, says there is little doubt that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are the main cause of global warming.

"I am pleased the Council is expressing this view as part of its submission to a Government inquiry into the role Local Government can play in meeting New Zealand's Climate Change targets.

"The targets agreed to by the Government are ambitious. Given Auckland's population, their current dependence on private motor vehicles and its location for much of the country's industry, any initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases have the potential to impact significantly on residents and business," said Councillor Northey.

Councillor Northey said that although to date Auckland City policies have not specifically addressed the issue of reducing greenhouse gases there were some important initiatives underway that would lead to a reduction in emissions.

Key to this, according to Councillor Northey, will be reducing Aucklanders dependence on the private motor vehicle.

"Auckland City is at the forefront in seeking an improved passenger transport system to serve both the city and the region. The Council's transport strategies have actively targeted improvements to passenger transport and development of a rapid transport system for the City," says Northey.

Councillor Northey says that currently there is a strong bias in legislation in favour of roading solutions, not transport solutions and Auckland City is urging this be changed if a more environmentally sustainable transport future is to be realised.

Given that the Government had entered into the country's climate change commitments through agreeing to the Kyoto Protocol any additional expectations of Local Government to assist in achieving these commitments will need to be met with additional resourcing, support and strategic advice from Government, according to Councillor Northey.

"There is no doubt addressing these issues will require an active partnership between central government and local government," said Northey.

Auckland City says the Government needs to take an active role in facilitating consultation and cooperation which engages local government, business and the community, if the objective of reducing greenhouse gasses is to be met.

Ends

For further information, please contact:
Councillor Richard Northey, tel: 634 1494.

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