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Fitzsimons Wins Inquiry Into Climate Change

Fitzsimons Wins Select Committee Inquiry Into Climate Change

Local government has a critical role to play in helping New Zealand meet its climate change commitments, Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said today after a decision that her proposal for a select committee inquiry was to go ahead.

Ms Fitzsimons chairs the Local Government and Environment Select Committee, which will investigate the role of local government in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Under the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand has agreed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by one-third by 2008 in order to combat climate change.

"New Zealand has the fastest growing emissions of any OECD country, so it's not going to be easy to turn around and reduce them by one-third," said Ms Fitzsimons. "To achieve our target, decisionmakers at the individual, local and regional level, as well as at the Government level, will have to explicitly consider the impact of their decisions on our greenhouse gas emissions."

Ms Fitzsimons said that local authorities had a bigger day to day impact on emissions than central government.

"Local authorities make the decisions about where new shops are built, and how accessible local transport is, which in turn determine how dependent people are on their cars. To meet our emissions targets we have to move away from being a car-based society, and we can't do that unless local government puts public transport on the priority list," she said.

"I expect the select committee inquiry will develop guidelines for local government in how they can take climate change effects into account in land use plans, resource consents and regional transport plans."

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 04 470 6661 or 025 586 068 Gina Dempster, Press secretary: 04 470 6723 or 021 1265 289

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