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David Hay's Head is in the Sand on Climate Action

Media Release
For Immediate release
Thursday 31 January 2008

David Hay's Head is in the Sand on Action on Climate Change

City Vision-Labour's Leader on the Auckland City Council, Councillor Richard Northey, today strongly condemned the decision by the new Auckland City Council, led by Deputy-Mayor David Hay, to cut out all the commitments to combating climate change that had been made by the previous Council.

The first meeting of the Council's Performance Monitoring Committee was held in confidential on 23rd January and the minutes have only now become publicly available. The committee's Chair, Deputy-Mayor David Hay, moved to delete all the climate change action goals from the current 2007-08 financial year objectives of the Auckland City Council's Chief Executive, David Rankin. This motion was supported by his Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) colleagues with Councillor Northey casting the sole vote against.

This decision was a key part of a series of motions that Councillor Richard Northey sees as demonstrating a quaint rejection of the role New Zealand local authorities should play in meeting the challenges of the 21st Century. David Hay and his C&R colleagues also resolved abruptly to end the work of previous Mayor Dick Hubbard's Mayoral Taskforce on Sustainability and all its work on sustainability initiatives. Also put on hold was the previously approved appointment of an Eco Adviser whose role was to ensure sustainability and energy efficiency in the Council's activities and decisions.

Councillor Richard Northey says, "I was very concerned that Councillors David Hay and Doug Armstrong had expressed skepticism that climate change caused by human actions was occurring at all. Their constantly reiterated opinion looks increasingly silly as worldwide consensus around the science and seriousness of climate change projections has firmed up.

"I am gob smacked that they said that because New Zealand's central government was seized of the issue it was inappropriate for the Auckland City Council to do anything about climate change."

Richard Northey said at the committee meeting that David Hay's vote on the matter contrasted sharply with the attitude of his father Keith Hay, a former Mayor of Mt Roskill who, along with all Auckland Mayors of the 1940s, had brought all his Council's resources to bear in supporting the government in the global struggle of combating Nazism and Japanese militarism.

Councillor Richard Northey said it was shameful and demonstrated real "head in the sand" thinking that the C&R Councillors had solemnly voted that the Auckland City Council should do nothing and therefore reject the United Nations call that all families, communities, local authorities and governments should all do their bit in combating the major global challenge that climate change represents to every one of us.

"Here in Auckland City we must, as individuals, families, communities and the Council, all act on climate change because we all want a world fit for our children and grandchildren to live in," Councillor Northey concludes.


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