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Local Government And Environment Committee

PRESS STATEMENT

INQUIRY INTO THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN MEETING NEW ZEALAND’S CLIMATE CHANGE TARGET

The Local Government and Environment Committee of Parliament has decided to conduct an inquiry into the role of local government in meeting New Zealand’s climate change target.

The committee will examine how local government can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Chairperson of the Committee, Jeanette Fitzsimons, said that councils can make an important contribution while carrying out their resource management functions. Planning for land use, subdivision, buildings, and transport systems all have major effects on total energy use and therefore greenhouse emissions. The same applies to management of buildings and to the operation of vehicles and utility services.

There is undoubtedly more that the Government could do to assist local government to contribute to reducing gas emissions, Jeanette Fitzsimons said. The committee will examine whether there are legislative impediments or other obstacles to local government playing this role and, if so, propose how these should be removed. There may be a need for guidance in the form of a national policy statement or guidelines under the Resource Management Act 1991, or other initiatives. These could be particularly helpful for smaller local authorities that lack the resources or expertise to develop technical aspects of policy in this area.

The committee recognises that adaptation issues need to be addressed, to the extent that worldwide mitigation activities do not succeed in reversing climate change, and has signalled that it may address this in a second stage.

The committee is not calling for public submissions at this time, but will receive briefings from relevant Government agencies and Local Government New Zealand once it has finished work on some of the major legislation currently before it.

Terms of reference for the inquiry are attached.

Jeanette Fitzsimons can be contacted on 025-586-068

19 July 2000

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE


INQUIRY INTO THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN MEETING
NEW ZEALAND’S CLIMATE CHANGE TARGET


Terms of reference

In conducting its inquiry, the committee will examine:

 The contribution local government can make to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the exercise of planning and regulatory functions, and also through its own actions, with regard to matters such as:

- land use and subdivision consents
- biodiversity conservation
- transport planning and traffic management
- operation of vehicles
- building consent processing
- management of buildings
- water and waste water
- landfill management and waste management generally.

 Any obstacles to local government playing this role, including:

- legislative impediments in the above areas
- information co-ordination problems at local government level, for example the appropriate roles of regional and territorial authorities in relation to land use and transportation issues

 Any central government actions that could:

- assist local government in its role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including whether there is need for a national policy statement or guidelines or standards under the Resource Management Act 1991, or other legislative change, or other policy initiatives
- improve co-ordination and synergies between central and local government efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


The committee recognises that adaptation issues need to be addressed, to the extent that world-wide mitigation activities do not succeed in reversing climate change, and may later conduct a second part to this inquiry to examine the adaptation aspect of local government responsibilities.


19 July 2000

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