Global goals supported

The Dunedin City Council has signed up to a set of global sustainability goals, though some councillors are questioning whether it is really necessary.

The council voted to become a signatory to the United Nations sustainable development goals and support the Otago Polytechnic's application to become a UN regional centre of excellence, yesterday.

The goals include, eliminating extreme poverty and hunger, promoting good health and wellbeing, gender equality and access to clean water.

The goals are not legally binding and reporting on their implementation is expected to be voluntary.

A regional centre of excellence is a network of formal and informal organisations which aim to facilitate sustainable development in local and regional communities.

Two councillors Lee Vandervis and Mike Lord voted against the motion.

Cr Lord said he struggled to understand what the council or UN could do to address many of the problems the goals aim to eliminate.

''The standard of living in the world has never been better than it is now and it's got very little to do with the UN, it's got a lot to do with things like genetic modification of food and better modes of transport,'' he said.

Cr Vandervis said while it was fine for the council to support the polytechnic and agree with the goals there was no value in becoming a signatory to them.

Cr Andrew Whiley said other organisations like the University of Otago and the polytechnic had already signed up to the goals. The council would only be supporting what was already happening in the city.

''I don't agree with it all ... but the focus of those 17 elements is something as a city we should be focusing on.''

Mayor Dave Cull said in many cases local governments and agencies were the most effective at addressing sustainability problems which is one reason he supported the motion.


Good to see Crs Vandervis and Lord stop and think before rushing in with the rest of the sheep at the council table, including the mayor. After nearly three years in office, it could be hoped that the elected members of the DCC would understand the following indisputable facts: we have a three tier system of government in New Zealand - local, regional and national. All three have their own jurisdictions so they do not conflict with one another in their decision making. Otherwise, the New Zealand tax payer would be funding micro-civil wars from time to time. And little would get done with the various branches of government in NZ fighting with each other..The law, if followed, makes such conflict impossible - local government is about LOCAL issues. It is NOT about national issues, like the siting of a public health facility, or about international matters like the pronouncements of the United Nations. This isn't just my personal opinion - this is what the law says. Every time the DCC elected members rush in and pass a resolution over a matter totally out of their jurisdiction they merely demonstrate that amateur hour has once again begin. Where's their legal adviser? Asleep?