Wellington City is the latest council to declare a climate change emergency, but many are skeptical on whether the declarations go beyond a headline.
The capital joins several other local or regional bodies, including Auckland, Nelson, Canterbury, and Christchurch, that have already made the declaration. Hamilton and Southland are also set to consider joining the list.
However critics say in many cases those councils aren’t doing anything more than they’ve already been doing, and they’re not funding their decisions. The exception is Nelson, where $750,000 has been set aside, including money for a ‘climate champion’, according to the podcast, The Detail.
When Auckland made the declaration earlier this month, the council voted to require officials to assess all policy proposals for their impact on climate change, the NZ Herald reported.
Auckland councillor and environment committee chair Penny Hulse said, starting next year, the city’s 10-year budget would need to be structured differently. “Do we think we’ve got the action plan, so we’re done? We’re so not.”
The day before the Wellington vote, the council heard that just 44 per cent of people consulted on the council’s carbon neutral plan thought the city will actually take action.
“Are we trying to have our cake and eat it too and have somebody else’s as well?” Wellington city councillor Andy Foster asked.
At the time Victoria University Professor James Renwick told Stuff there was uncertainty around whether the capital would ever move to a completely electric bus fleet, and also many years of uncertainty surrounding a light rail system.
“We need to get that message across that stakes are really high.”
The issue has been covered by local and national media, including:
RNZ: Wellington declares climate emergency
Stuff: Wellington City Council declares climate emergency, but councillors remain divided
Hamilton News: Hamilton City Council cautious over declaring climate change emergency
Stuff: Wellington climate plan called preachy, nonsense and ‘a farce’ by councillors
NZ Herald: Hawke’s Bay one step closer to declaring a climate emergency
Stuff: Students’ plea sparks move that could see Hamilton City Council declare climate emergency
NZ Herald: It’s official: Auckland has a climate emergency
Otago Daily Times:Council to vote on climate emergency
The Southland Times: Councillor pushes for climate change stance in Southland
RNZ – The Detail:
Newshub: Climate emergency: What Auckland Council’s declaration actually means