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Greens welcome climate change inquiry

16 October 2000

Attention Environment / Science Reporters

Greens welcome climate change inquiry

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons today said she was pleased a select committee inquiry into the role of local government in meeting New Zealand's climate change targets will start this week.

Ms Fitzsimons, who also chairs the Local Government and Environment Select Committee, said the committee would hold its first hearing this Wednesday night at 7.30pm when it will hear from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

"NIWA will brief us on the latest scientific information on climate change. Dr Jim Salinger from NIWA is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Science Group and is involved in preparing their Third Report," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"This will be the very latest science. The public are welcome, to the extent that space permits, as we would like to make the maximum use of NIWA's material," she said.

"This inquiry is very significant as, if New Zealand is serious about reducing its greenhouse emissions and meeting our Kyoto commitments, local government must play a key role."

Ms Fitzsimons said that in carrying out their resource management functions, such as planning for land use, new buildings, new transport systems and the operation of vehicles, councils could factor in energy use and therefore greenhouse emissions.

Ms Fitzsimons said the committee will be examining whether there are any legislative or other barriers to local councils playing instrumental roles in reducing energy consumption and, if so, how these barriers could be removed.

"I believe this investigation is crucial if we are to meet our international obligations. While central Government has a very important role to play in reducing our greenhouse emissions, this responsibility must be shared with local bodies to ensure maximum efficiency."

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 04 470 6661, 025 586 068 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 440 090

The terms of reference for this inquiry are available on request from Jeanette Fitzsimons' office. NIWA briefing on climate change: 7.30pm, Wednesday 16 October, Parliament Buildings

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