21 Feb 2019

Local Government New Zealand says climate change declaration 'not a binding contract'

8:57 am on 21 February 2019

The president of Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) says its climate change declaration is purely aspirational and no one is being pressured into signing up.

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Photo: 123RF

Yesterday the Thames-Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie told RNZ she did not want to sign the declaration because it was "politically charged".

Fifty-six councils have signed the document which asks councils to promote walking and public transport, improve resource efficiency and healthy homes and supporting renewable energy and electric vehicles.

Thames Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie

Thames Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie Photo: supplied

Dunedin mayor and LGNZ president Dave Cull said the declaration recognised communities and councils had a part to play in mitigating climate change.

He was the first mayor to sign the declaration in 2017 and said he was motivated by the situation in South Dunedin.

"It's not a binding contract; there are no specific goals.

"It's just a recognition that we, the communities, need to be looking to change the way their communities operate and reduce their carbon footprint."

Mr Cull said the declaration had been well-received and he was not pushing anyone into signing up.

"My suspicion is that any pressure to sign comes from communities going to their councils and saying look this is something we would like you to do."

Mr Cull said the idea that it was "politically charged" was a misunderstanding and "no one's putting the hard word on them," he said.

He said apprehension on councils' part on not being able to follow through on the declaration could be why some had not signed it. Resources for smaller councils would also be an issue.

Mr Cull said elected representatives covered a wide-spectrum of views and backgrounds so there was bound to be differences in opinions.

The North Island councils still to sign up: Manawatu District Council, Tararua District Council, Taupo District Council, Thames-Coromandel District Council, Ōpōtiki District Council, Hamilton City Council, Ōtorohanga District Council, Wairoa District Council, Horowhenua District Council, South Taranaki District Council, Kaipara District Council, Whangārei District Council, Stratford District Council.

The South Island councils still to sign: Buller District Council, Hurunui District Council, Timaru District Council, Mackenzie District Council, Waimate District Council, Waitaki District Council, West Coast Regional Council, Westland District Council and Queenstown Lakes District Council.