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Hobbs' Mayoral Forum Speech

Hobbs' Auckland Mayoral Forum Speech on Sustainable Development 11.30am Friday Jan 31.

We went to Johannesburg last August and signed up to a global programme of action that essentially said we need to grow our economies so we can pay for improved health and education.

But the growing must be able to continue for our children and grandchildren. It is not sustainable to use up the planet's resources.

Sustainable development is defined as "development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".

We returned to New Zealand and drew up New Zealand's Sustainable Development Programme of Action, based on what we had learnt in New Zealand since Rio's Earth Summit and on the direction laid out in Johannesburg.

There has been much fine talk and abstract concepts. Now we want some action.
To act with some success, it is best if you act intelligently – and that means being inclusive – gaining wide input into the planning and decision making.

So I'm especially pleased to be making this announcement at a Mayoral Forum. You have resources/so do we. You have plans/so do we. We need those budgets, those plans to be reasonably synchronised, so that we stop wasting resources by not working together.

And that co-ordination also applies to institutions and businesses. Do you site a school away from bus routes? How close is affordable housing to the workforce?

In the Programme being released today the Government has adopted a set of 10 principles to guide development. These will apply across all areas of government, and will be ‘infused’ into government processes. They are commonsense principles – such as considering long-term implications of decisions. I am sure you will find these principles a useful guide to using your new local government mandate.

The programme of action focuses on four concrete areas for immediate action – fresh water, sustainable cities, renewable energy, and child and youth development – these programmes all cross a number of departments, and have multiple goals – environmental, social, cultural and economic. They need a whole of government approach. They also have interesting interrelationships.

As Minister with responsibility for Urban Affairs I am especially mindful of the manner which all of these issues interconnect in Auckland.

The sustainable cities programme will initially focus on Auckland. This will involve a presence in Auckland that brings central and local government together, as well as large institutions and business to tackle the issues that are a barrier to growth.

We know the obvious ones, but there are many more decisions being made where all the implications have not been examined from the different angles.

And why is a solution needed? 85% of our people live in cities. We want them to have exciting and prosperous industries, liveable communities and a clean, healthy environment.

This work is real. It is not just talk. You may think sustainable development is a vague and fluffy theory. This programme of action will deal with real, complex, hard to tackle issues. They are material issues that touch all of us, now and in the future. In Wellington the Programme of action will be strongly driven by Ministers. Jim and I have been appointed by Cabinet to lead the Sustainable Cities work programme. We look forward to working in full collaboration with you, and with our colleague Hon Judith Tizard.

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