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Local government strengthens its climate change policy response

13 Apr 2016

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) announced at its quarterly media briefing today it will be developing a new climate change position statement focusing on important mitigation and adaptation strategies.

The LGNZ Climate Change Position Statement will detail key actions and policy changes to manage the effects of climate change on New Zealand’s communities. It will also outline next steps for local government and sector partners to manage climate change in communities around the country.LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says New Zealand has much at stake and much to gain by adopting strong leadership on climate change.

“Climate change and sea level rise are increasingly important factors in policy making for local government. Developing and implementing ambitious action plans to support resilience within our local communities is a key goal for local government,” says Mr Yule.

The objective of the policy development is to provide a focus on key joint central and local government actions and policy changes needed to manage climate change effects on communities. It will be accompanied by a summary of the effects of climate change on all local government functions from a mitigation and adaptation perspective.

New Zealand must develop a joint central and local government approach to climate change if it is serious about addressing the significant impacts climate change presents both now and in the future.

“We also acknowledge there are a range of specific roles and responsibilities that local government has for their communities that are affected by climate change. These include land use and building controls, the provision of infrastructure, natural hazards management, water allocation, biosecurity, waste management, public transport, river control, civil defence emergency management and rural fire to name a few,” says Mr Yule.“

The impacts of climate change will also vary round the country. We are very aware of challenges local authorities face with infrastructure and managing insurance costs,” says Mr Yule.

This Position Statement follows on from key work LGNZ has been leading around climate change and resilience. Late last year, local government leaders from across New Zealand united to push for more coordinated action via the Local Government Leaders Climate Change Declaration. The declaration received strong support from major cities and smaller communities around New Zealand with a total of 29 mayors and chairs signing up. Local government was also represented at the COP21 climate change conference in Paris last December.

The LGNZ Climate Change Position Statement will be presented mid this year.