Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Climate Change: The problem of gerontocracy

The Thames-Coromandel District Council considered the issue of climate change yesterday, and once again refused to sign up to the LGNZ declaration. While the declaration doesn't commit to much, its an important sign of whether a local authority is even pretending to care about climate change. And the message from Thames-Coromandel is clear: it doesn't. And this, despite being one of the areas most threatened by rising sea levels.

But there's a bigger problem here: as Stuff points out, the youngest member of the Thames-Coromandel council is 60. They are literally a gerontocracy, with a gerontocracy's short-term view. They won't live to see the problem, so it doesn't exist to them. Better to fuck over the grandkids, stick your head in the sand, and Keep Rates Low. And unfortunately, the biggest victims - those grandkids - can't vote yet, so are powerless to do anything about it.

Its a problem which is widespread across New Zealand. Only 6% of local authority members are under 40, while 83% of them are over 50. Our councils don't even remotely represent the people who live under them. And when it comes to climate change, or other long-term problems, this narrowness of worldview causes problems.

As for solutions, there are local body elections coming up in October. If you want change, then vote for it: vote for young people, not gerontocrats. Its that simple.