Monday, June 24, 2019

Local elections, regional councils, and climate change

Local body elections are happening in October. With councils around the country declaring or debating climate emergencies, climate change is likely to play a big role, and the surge in younger candidates should provide some welcome and necessary representation against the gerontocracy on that front. But most of the focus is on city councils. And with climate change, its really regional councils we need to focus on.

Regional councils control public transport. They also control land, air, and water quality under the RMA. They set the rules which allow dairy intensification and the burning of fossil fuels, among other things. And if the government repeals the RMA's ban on considering climate change, then the plans and policies they make are going to be absolutely critical in limiting emissions and fighting climate change.

Those plans are made and approved by elected councillors. So who is on our regional councils is going to matter like never before. And because they're stacked with farmers, we desperately need voices to oppose the vested interests of rural climate change denial.

So, if you're a young or green and considering running for local office this year, please run for regional council. Its a real chance to make a difference - not just for your region, or New Zealand, but to the world.