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Government has duty to act on climate change



Climate Change Spokesperson

Government has duty to act on climate change

The National Government's hands-off response to the latest IPCC report on climate change adaptation is not only unbelievable, it’s embarrassing, says Labour Climate Change spokesperson Moana Mackey.

"The report clearly outlines the inevitable impacts of climate change for New Zealand.

“We are already experiencing extreme weather events and the worst is yet to come, with agriculture, fisheries, and tourism sectors as well as coastal communities, all at serious risk.

"This Government is asleep at the wheel when it comes to decisive action on climate change and halting further increases in our greenhouse gas emissions. At the very least they need to be preparing for the inevitable impacts of existing climate warming.

"The report also points out that even though we know the likely impact on our environment and climate we don't know which regions of New Zealand are going to be hardest hit. Responding to that should be prioritised in any adaption planning.

"Leaving it to local authorities is not good enough. It results in piecemeal planning and decision making. What we need is a central government-led approach.

"Central government has the resources required to assess where the greatest levels of risk lie, to give guidance on what the priorities should be, and to lay out the range of options available to help communities adapt to climate change.

"Regional authorities are also exposed to legal challenge, something which is highly likely given some of the difficult decisions that will need to be made. Endless litigation is in no one’s best interest.

"It is unbelievable that the so-called Climate Change Minister, Tim Groser, thinks adaptation to the impacts of climate change should be left to ‘natural processes’.

“Given his Government has chosen to ignore the urgent need for action on climate change, and instead further lock us into a reliance on fossil fuels, the least he could do is take seriously the impacts of that inaction.

"Labour will future-proof our economy. We will not saddle future generations with the legacy of inaction on climate change,” Moana Mackey said.

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