Council resists pleas to sign climate change declaration

Protesters are outraged the Thames Coromandel District Council has not signed a nationwide climate change declaration.

Councillors have voted against signing the Local Government New Zealand document, which puts the responsibility on councils to play their part in mitigating climate change.

The Thames-Coromandel District Council spokesperson said three councillors voted in favour of signing the declaration but five councillors voted against it.

Hauraki Coromandel Climate Action Group spokesperson Sheena Beaton said it was a sign their elected leaders were not taking climate change seriously.

She said the outcome was not unexpected, but it was inexcusable that the councillors’ votes were not reflective of the community.

Climate scientists project if global warming stops at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels then there will be about half a metre of global sea level rise by 2100, at 2C it could get to a metre of sea level rise or more the warmer it gets.

Official information from the council released to Hauraki Coromandel Climate Action shows at half a metre of sea level rise the replacement value of core council infrastructure would be $63.5 million, at one metre it would be $128m and at three metres it would be half a billion.

The figures released to the climate action group cover the cost of replacement for roads, community facilities, wastewater treatment plants and pipes among many others and do not include the potential cost to private property or business.

Mayor Sandra Goudie has told RNZ previously that the declaration was politically driven and that she personally did not support signing it.

She has also said previously her council was proactive in ensuring the community was protected and resilient in vulnerable coastal areas.