Environmental ratings controversial

The group behind a website that is ranking Dunedin mayoral candidates on their environmental stance says it was produced in part to get young people talking about the local government election.

But the Generation Zero site has been criticised by the lowest-ranked candidate as not getting his views on the matter right.

Dave Cull.
Dave Cull.

Generation Zero is a youth-led organisation founded to help provide solutions for New Zealand to cut carbon pollution through smarter transport, liveable cities and independence from fossil fuels.

The group has ranked candidates nationally.

In Dunedin, it ranked Mayor Dave Cull top with an A+, followed by Aaron Hawkins also with an A+. Candidates Athol Bayne and Conrad Stedman were second last and last respectively, both receiving a D rating.

The rankings were based on five areas that included climate leadership, transportation and ``political competence''.

Candidates were given an average rating and ranked in order.

Candidates scored well if they agreed with Generation Zero's values.

Aaron Hawkins

Spokesman Finn Campbell said it was put together because there were few good ways to get information about candidates, and the number of young people voting was ``really low''.

The ranking was ``not going to be perfect''.

``The important message is we wanted people to talk about their local body elections.

``We put out a value system we think people might be interested in. It's our value system, and we're not surprised people will disagree with it.

``It's young people trying to engage with young people about politics that has traditionally alienated us.''

Mr Campbell said other regions had sent questions to candidates, but in Dunedin there were only three people who could commit to the project, and they had ``gone non-stop for a week to gather information''.

The group had put together scorecards from information from mayoral forums, social media profiles and print media stories, including candidate profiles.

``We've said these are what people have said on these issues.

``We've tried to be as reasonable as possible.''

Mr Campbell said people had already starting talking about the issues, and did not necessarily agree with the results, ``but that's awesome''.

``We don't expect everyone to agree with us, but the fact they're having a conversation about their local body and what it can do for them, and the vision for the city, is excellent.''

Mr Stedman said a note on his profile on the Generation Zero site said he ``questions the role climate change has with respect to South Dunedin''.

Mr Stedman said that was wrong.

He did not want climate change understood to be the reason for the South Dunedin flooding last year, when it was the council's ``dereliction of duty'' in looking after the drainage infrastructure.

He ``definitely'' agreed there was man-made climate change.

``We have got an issue in the world where the earth is heating up and we're not looking after our environment,'' Mr Stedman said.

Generation Zero also said he ``actively opposes creating more cycleways'', but Mr Stedman said he did not.

He disagreed with cycleways in South Dunedin that were built, then ripped up, but was keen on a cycleway from the St Clair Esplanade through parks to Royal Cres and to the Otago Peninsula.

``This is where they've only taken a snippet.

``They think I'm anti things.

``That's why I've ended up last, and that's why I take it with a pinch of salt.''

Mr Cull said he was flattered by the judgement, and thought the organisation had ``comprehensively'' looked at a range of issues and how candidates had grappled with them.





Let's be clear. We want young people to engage just like the older, but not to raise matters that actually concern young people.