HDPA: B-grade local politicians aren't going to stop climate change

Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Thursday, 16 May 2019, 6:10PM
Envrionment Canterbury's climate emergency declaration is pointless, writes Heather. (Photo / NZ Herald)

Not a week goes by where I don’t roll my eyes at what local government is up to.

City councillors, regional councillors, you know the look. Too often these are B-grade politicians with too much time on their hands who don’t have a real job, which is why they run for council because it gives them something to do and a bit of income.

To be fair, not all of them are that bad. Some are good, but too often they are B-graders.

Just look at Environment Canterbury. Today, E-Can has declared a region-wide climate emergency. Yeah, that’s right, a climate emergency.  Climate change is coming and E-Can is all over it.

But what exactly does that mean? Well, nothing by the looks of things.

A climate emergency doesn’t meet the legal definition of an emergency for them to be able to declare a state of emergency. They’re not going to do much differently by the looks of things. Central government’s not running down in high-vis vests to plan a stop bank for the sea.

It’s not actually doing anything other than sending a signal – yes, one of those increasingly popular signals – that climate change is happening.

Here’s a signal for E-Can: stick to your knitting. Do what you’re supposed to do and don’t do anything else.

Local government is supposed to deal with infrastructure, roads, ports, rubbish, public transport, libraries, museums, that sort of thing. Just do that and don’t do anything else.

Because everything else is wasting rate payers’ money. That council meeting, where E-Can sat around chatting about climate change and the merits of declaring an emergency, that wasted time and money.

And let’s be honest about it: the last people anyone would ask to fix something as major as climate change are local body politicians.

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