DCC votes against backing risk appeal

Lee Vandervis
Lee Vandervis
The Dunedin City Council has ruled out throwing its weight behind the Wise Response Appeal, after councillors divided into camps over environmental concerns and fears of party political lobbying.

The council was asked, at last month's council public forum, to sign the appeal by Emeritus Prof Sir Alan Mark, on behalf of appeal organisers. The appeal urged the New Zealand Parliament to undertake an objective national assessment of the risks posed by climate change, economic instability and other potential threats to New Zealand's wellbeing.

However, councillors at Monday's full council meeting were split over the request, with some urging action while others feared it would open the council up to increased political lobbying by other groups.

Councillors eventually voted 7-5 against the council adding its name to the appeal, and instead decided only to ''note'' a staff report detailing the appeal.

However, council staff would be able to sign up to the appeal as individuals, alongside councillors - some of whom already had.

The decisions came despite arguments from councillors, including Cr David Benson-Pope, who said the appeal's request was ''conservative and reasonable'' and would align with a range of council activity areas.

''It's hard to look at the five themes of the appeal ... and not see direct alignment with pretty much everything we do,'' he said.

Deputy mayor Chris Staynes agreed, saying the potential risks the appeal wanted studied in more detail - those to business continuity, economic security, energy security, climate and ecological security and genuine wellbeing - were also issues for the council.

''If that is done by Government, it will undoubtedly help council,'' he said.

Others disagreed, including Cr Lee Vandervis, who said he was ''reasonably happy'' with the appeal's contents but worried the council's signature would encourage more political lobbying of the council by other groups.

''If we essentially pander to this new political lobbying ... I think that we are heading into dangerous territory.''

Councillors were divided over whether support for the appeal would move them into party political territory, with Cr Kate Wilson arguing the appeal was not political and sought only to look ''holistically'' at challenges.

''I honestly can't understand why understanding those risks, in a preferably non-political way, is difficult for ... everyone to want to do.''

However, Cr Andrew Noone said he took the ''complete opposite'' view, saying the appeal was ''clearly suggesting that the political party in control at the moment has got it wrong''.

The appeal has been endorsed by Labour, Green and New Zealand First MPs, but not members of the Government, and Cr Noone said he felt ''we are perhaps being used as a vehicle to strengthen the argument''.

Mayor Dave Cull denied it was a politically motivated appeal, saying it was not a statement of position but simply a request for an investigation.

The information that would flow from acting on the appeal could allay fears, or not, but if it was ignored ''then we don't know the answer''.

Mr Cull said the issues it sought to address were also of relevance to the council, but he resented the fact the Government was leaving issues of national importance to councils to consider.

Crs Benson-Pope, Aaron Hawkins, Staynes and Wilson and Mr Cull voted to sign the appeal, but were defeated by Crs John Bezett, Doug Hall, Noone, Andrew Whiley, Hilary Calvert, Mike Lord and Vandervis.

Councillors then voted to note the report, including Cr Staynes, who nevertheless said the decision was ''not ideal''.

''It's not ideal for people to recognise that there are risks and then choose to do nothing about it,'' he said.

- chris.morris@odt.co.nz

Climate possibilities

Albert Square: you are referring to Climate change set to affect credit risk which is about a new report from Standard and Poor's which generally follows the IPCC's alarmist point of view. They do however give this warning: "Our understanding of climate change, on the other hand, is still developing and we lack sufficient reliable data to make precise predictions on if and when the effects of a warming planet and changing weather patterns will overshadow other factors."

Anthropogenic Global Warming is a prediction and like all predictions we judge their credibility by comparing the predictions to what actually happened. There is a good graph over here that compares reality to the predictions of the IPCC. Nostradamus beats them hands down. Even if the IPCC's predictions somehow become reality, Standard and Poor's recognizes that some sovereign states could benefit from the global warming.

Probably in time there will be global warming or cooling, but so far there is no evidence that humans have any influence. With warming or cooling there could be costs, as you point out, but there are definite costs from de-energizing, making Dunedin a car-less city and whatever other loopy schemes the DCC has on it's list. Some analysts say that the cost of adapting to whatever the future brings will be much less that the cost of trying to change the global climate.

Standard and really impoverished

It's political. It's also potentially hip pocket. See Climate Change set to affect Credit Risk (ODT).

Campaign is political

Oppositional Square: One of the points at issue is whether the DCC should provide endorsement for political, religious or any other type of lobby group. Endorsement for these people falls outside the proscribed purpose of Local Government (to provide infrastructure and services in the most cost effective way) so I oppose the decision to present the Wise Response appeal to our councilors for endorsement.

Dave Cull and Kate Wilson want us to think that the Wise Response appeal is non-political. This is because they both know that a "non-political" cause is more likely to be supported than a cause branded as "political". I say that the Wise Response appeal is political. This is partly because its policies are only supported by the opposition parties and because of its timing being in the lead-up to the General Election.

Mainly, however, this campaign isn't party-political, but is very political in a broader sense of encompassing the Left and Green parts of the political spectrum. The Wise Response campaign is pushing for more "wealth sharing", wants to restrict oil extraction and restrict oil imports and generally wants us to accept their de-carbonised, de-energised, pre-european NZ way of life. [Abridged]

Climate change

I'm sure Jimmy can back his arguments about climate change with peer reviewed research, carried out globally, updated at regular intervals and widely published....can't he? As for the councillors, well done ODT for showing who voted what way. I now have a much clearer view on who I would like to see making decisions about our future responses to what faces us.

Defector detector van

Jimmy, it may be due to your considerable writing skills, but I have never disagreed so much with a point of view whilst respecting that view. Binary oppositional reader.

Greater Dunedin defector

Thanks to Mike Lord for having the sense to not follow the party line of his Greater Dunedin political group. Cull, Staynes, Wilson and the other supporters of this Wise Response lobby group should know better than to try to use the DCC as a way of promoting their deluded thinking.

The Wise Response organizers are mostly local and are mostly members of Sustainable Dunedin City and other extremist local groups promoting the ideals of the UN's Agenda 21, also called Sustainable Development. They prefer to call it Sustainable Development instead of Agenda 21. Even though it isn't sustainable and it isn't development these words sound less threatening than "Agenda 21". Everyone should be deeply suspicious of this and any other political campaign organized by the United Nations.

Mayor Cull and his Greater Dunedin team are dedicated followers of the Agenda 21 doctrine and the associated theories of a global apocalypse caused by the imaginary global warming.


Flat out eeling

I'm not fussed about protocols, but hope there is municipal planning based on projections (100+years), that South D will revert to eeling grounds. Posterity will thank us. All of us really depressed lower socioeconomic down and outs if some media is to be believed.

Climate change.

People should be aware that the goverment guidlines on climate change are hopelesly out of date and inaccurate.

They are still using the middle course whereas the CO2 emissions are worse than the worse case scenario. This is vey misleading and means that we are not perparing our infrastructure. This NZ website covers climate change in New Zealand and is easier to use than the official NIWA site.


Wise response

Disappointing. Let's just keep our heads in the sand, eh?

The Wise Appeal is political

The interesting part of this article is that some councillors (who are all in the business of politics) don't see the "Wise" Response appeal as political.

All one needs to do is to look at the backers of the supporters on the web site and there is only two clicks of separation to the likes of Greenpeace, 350, Moveon.org etc.

All a reasonable person has to do is follow the money.

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