DCC votes to be Green climate lobbyists

The infiltration of Green national politics into local body government took a worrying turn yesterday. Dunedin City Council has voted in four climate change resolutions:

• Urge the Government to adopt a tougher carbon emissions target.

• Support the Government in that goal by reducing Dunedin’s carbon emissions.

• Join the international ”Compact of Mayors” agreement to measure and reduce emissions across Dunedin.

• Ask the Government to place a moratorium on deep sea oil and gas exploration.

It looks like there is a big dollop of Green Party national politics in those resolutions, with the Dunedin City Council voting to allow themselves to be Government lobbiests on issues of national and international interest.

The resolutions were brought before the council by Crs Jinty MacTavish and Aaron Hawkins.

I don’t think McTavish is officially in the Green Party but is closely aligned with more extreme Green policies, and has been influential in promoting Green policies and practices at a local body level.

Hawkins stood as a Green Party candidate in 2013 local body elections when he became a councillor.

The ODT reports in Council says yes to climate change resolutions that there was some opposition:

Cr Andrew Noone said Dunedin would be better off ”walking the talk” than telling the Government what to do.

Cr John Bezett said the issue was one for central Government, and Dunedin was ”wasting our time” giving its opinion.

Cr Andrew Whiley said climate change was a problem needing to be addressed first and foremost by the world’s biggest polluters, including China and India.

Both there was more support in a fairly left leaning council:

But that view was rejected by Cr Richard Thomson, who said grass-roots pressure was what drove governments to make big decisions.

Cr David Benson-Pope brought cheers from the gallery for his speech on why Dunedin had to take a stand.

”Like it or not, colleagues, we are part of our community. In fact, we are supposed to be some of the carriers of the moral leadership.”

”There was no question what thousands of New Zealanders thought about the issue during the weekend’s climate change marches,” he said.

”They think this community needs to move.

”I agree with them, and I’m not reluctant to … tell the Government it’s time that they got real and re-established a degree of political integrity and moral fibre on this issue.”

Benson-Pope has a Labour rather than a Green background. He was an MP from 1999-2008.From 2005-2007 he was Minister for the Environment in the Clark Government.

Unusually for a setting MP he was not selected by his party to stand again for Dunedin South in 2008. It seems like he still has a hankering for being involved in national politics.

I’m not surprised with this Green politicking in Dunedin, the Greening and Lefting of the council was an issue of concern raised in the 2013 election.

I would rather the Dunedin council put more effort into administering and improving Dunedin for their rate payers rather than delving into Green national politics.

UPDATE: In other news in the ODT today things that don’t seem to matter so much to DCC councillors:

Queenstown-Lakes also fared well in the number of dwelling consents issued in October with 96, up from 65 in September and by far the highest for the past 12 months.

Central Otago had 19 dwellings consented, up from 16 and again the highest total for the past 12 months.

Dunedin slumped to 19 dwelling consents in October from 25 in September.

That’s depressing enough, but more so given the headline: New year looks good for Otago builders.  Not so much for Dunedin builders.

 

Jaded encumbents need pushed

One of the most disappointing things about the campaign for me has been the negativity and defeatism of some incumbents. Current mayor Dave Cull is guilty – in forums he has said that pushing politicians is pointless and has also said there was no point in pursuing business related to oil/gas.

His political reluctance may be due to being overawed by Government ministers or not knowing how to go about it, but on oil/gas he seems conflicted, he opposes drilling so we can’t expect him to be enthusiastic about chasing business related to the industry.

There was more incumbent defeatism at a health forum on Thursday.

Health boards have little influence over the health of the population, and representatives who think they will change things fail to realise the Minister of Health is in charge, Southern District Health Board candidate Richard Thomson told a forum in Dunedin yesterday.

Those thinking that in Don Quixote fashion they would shake up the system soon discover if they do not do as they are told, the minister will simply do it anyway, the veteran health board member and former chairman said.

I commented on this at ODT online:

Bollocks. That is not the attitude that kept Neurology in Dunedin. People stood up and demanded. It worked. It doesn’t always work, but it will never work if you give up without trying.

It’s not easy, but people don’t vote for easy, they vote for people to do the hard stuff.

Council and the DHB need people who are prepared to do the hard work. That’s how you can succeed.

A Southern District Health Board candidate, John Chambers, also commented.

Like Pete George I was somewhat surprised by the cynicism and negativity in the comments made by Richard Thomson, a long standing board member. Around New Zealand and internationally there is ample evidence  that the members of health and hospital boards are very influential in steering the direction of health expenditure. That is why I am standing and, if elected, I intend to make a difference.

The DHB and council needs fresh enthusiastic determined people to push out or inspire and push jaded incumbents.