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Local government candidates under microscope on climate this election

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Groups pushing for urgent action on climate change will post an online scorecard to reveal local body candidates’ views on the issue.

Catherine Jeffcoat, spokesperson for the Common Climate Network, said: "It’s now very clear that action must be taken at a global, national and local level. Local councils can help reduce emissions through better policies and decisions on transport, waste, energy efficiency, urban development and land use. Mayors and councillors can also advocate for greater action at a national level."

"Public concern about climate change is growing fast, so it is vital that voters are able to clearly identify candidates who care and who will support and lead meaningful action. We have joined forces with Generation Zero to build on their successful scorecard exercise in 2016 and bring it to even more councils."

Candidates in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin will receive a questionnaire that asks for their general views on climate change, and specifically their support for initiatives on public transport, energy efficiency, waste reduction, and urban development. The Common Climate Network is working with local groups such as Low Carbon Kāpiti to tailor the questions for specific climate issues in their particular area.

The resulting scorecards will be published online by Common Climate and Generation Zero by 22 September, when voting papers will be mailed out.

Ms Jeffcoat also said: "We invite other groups around the country to use these questions for their local government candidates and we will publish the results."

Professor James Renwick, Head of the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, which includes the Climate Change Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington, said "With growing numbers of councils around the world, and in New Zealand, declaring a climate emergency, the 2019 local government elections must be seen as an opportunity to do more. Given the lack of understanding on some councils about climate change, voters deserve better. This means we must vote for the candidates who care, who understand the urgency, and who are prepared to take action."

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