Climate change is top priority for new government, LGNZ says

Local Government NZ president Dave Cull said "There is no more time for inaction"

Local Government New Zealand has reiterated its concerns about the impact of climate change, saying the incoming government needs to provide a clear statement on responsibilities for adapting to higher temperatures, rising sea levels and more violent storms.

The body representing New Zealand's 78 local, regional, and unitary authorities says its members "are at the front line of climate change adaptation and have a role to play in mitigation" but it also says central government needs to prioritise a plan for a low carbon and resilient New Zealand, including fiscal responsibility.

"There is no more time for inaction. We need whoever is in government after 23 September to set some firm goals and strategies for both mitigating and adapting to climate change," said new LGNZ president and Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull. "The incredible storms seen in Texas and the Caribbean in recent weeks should be taken as a warning to us all. Natural hazards and climate change impacts pose an unprecedented threat to our natural and built environment."

Calling for action on climate change has been a consistent refrain from local authorities. At the LGNZ conference in July, 39 mayors called for an ambitious central government plan to transform New Zealand into a low-carbon economy and prepare for impacts such as inundation from rising sea levels. Last December it called climate change a major issue facing councils and communities.

A National Geographic tool released with its documentary Before the Flood shows the Wellington suburb of Miramar, southern suburbs of Dunedin and large swathes of Christchurch and Napier could be inundated by a 2.5 percent increase in global temperatures.

The briefing in Wellington also included an update from the Local Government Funding Authority, which sells bonds on behalf of local authorities. In the year ended June 30, the LGFA accounted for 83 percent of all council borrowing. Total LGFA lending to the sector stood at $8.1 billion as at Sept. 4, up $464 million from May. Of that, $303 million was short-term lending to 23 councils and $7.76 billion was long-term and lent to 52 councils, it said.

Of investors in LGFA bonds, those based offshore rose 1.4 percent in the past three months to 31.1 percent, ranking second after banks who owned an unchanged 34.2 percent and domestic institutional investors with 30.7 percent, down 1.4 percent.

LGFA chair Craig Stobo said growth in offshore investors "defies the trend" for central government debt in New Zealand and Australia and was a sign of the positive sentiment toward local authorities and the funding body.

"A Japanese life insurance company wouldn't do due diligence on Waitomo Council but they will lend us money," Stobo said.

Of the 38 councils that borrowed long-term funds from the LGFA in 2016-17, Christchurch City was the biggest at some $325 million, which Stobo said largely reflected debt refinancing. Auckland ranked second at about $275 million.

A consolidated balance sheet of LGFA members, as at June 2016 showed a negative net operating balance of $72 million as operating income of $7.12 billion was just eclipsed by $7.19 billion of operating expenses. The largest expense was the purchase of good and services at $2.7 billion, which reflected the extent to which councils are outsourcing.

(BusinessDesk)


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The ignorance just amazes me, this chief bureaucrat actually links Hurricane Irma to Climate Change!? These storms have existed since time began, it's not a symptom or a result of man's actions. They actually have a hurricane season in America and it's something a lot of states are used to dealing with - it's NOTHING NEW.

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Great, more nebulous, green unaccountable crap for councils to squander millions on.

When are they going to get drains, sewerage and rubbish affordable without these legions of "policy analysts" and enviro-consultant bludgers?

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Yes , if you wanted to illustrate everything that is wrong with Local Government in NZ, it would be hard to beat this example of someone risen to the level of his incompetence.
Too many years in the public trough can lead to a significant disconnection from reality.

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I would have thought the #1 priority of Local Government was to live within their budgets and stop wasting ratepayer money chasing rainbows.

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Climate change, like terrorism, used by the neo-lib establishment/corporate controlled media to scare the masses and divert attention from the real issues of the day: corporate control of government & public wealth transfer to the rich and the colonisation of the developed world by the third world.

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It amazes me that with access to extensive media and resources on information regarding the environment and climate issues - that there seems to be disbelief and outcry - when we need to take urgent steps towards cleaning up or act. It's not government conspiracy - we need to take measures now as a part of a long term transition into a sustainable co-existence. At the very least, surely the understanding that what we do has impact and minimising that impact would be a positive outcome.

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Unless the government can explain The Chemical Trails in our skies that are part of man made geo-engineered weather modification programmes in THIS Country ( as well as overseas) then this talk is a total insult to the intelligence and sovereignty AND HEALTH of our people.

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