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Local ratepayers need central government action on climate

Local ratepayers need central government action on climate change

The Local Government Leaders’ Climate Change Declaration is welcome and lays down a challenge for the National Government, the Green Party said today.

"The National Government remains asleep at the wheel on climate change and councils and ratepayers are having to pick up the pieces,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“When major natural disasters like earthquakes devastate our cities and towns, central government does not turn its back on local communities. But when it comes to climate change, the National Government looks the other way.

"Over the last few years we have seen a pattern of increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather events. These include the one-in-one-hundred year floods that are now happening every year in places like Dunedin or Whanganui; to the Port Hills resembling a Sydney bush fire; to longer and deeper droughts like the one that wiped $1.4bn of our economy in 2013; and more intense storms like the one being experienced in Canterbury and Otago this weekend.

“Climate change is not some distant threat. It is happening now in the form of extreme weather and it is costing communities.

“New Zealand is a coastal country. The National Government is failing in its obligations to future generations by not providing more consistent national policy guidance to help councils and their communities plan to mitigate and adapt to sea level rise and more extreme weather. Good planning now will reduce future costs.

“A Green Party in Government would ensure that strong climate change mitigation policies are in place across energy, transport, and agriculture and that we are creating a productive, jobs-rich, carbon-neutral economy by the year 2050.

“The Green Party have announced their Green Infrastructure Fund which would help fund the bold and ambitious moves New Zealand needs to make towards a low carbon economy.

"The consequences of inaction are too high. It is good to see Local Government New Zealand pushing central government to start acting on climate change,” said Mr Shaw.

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