Govt needs to engage with climate action

It is my privilege to hold the Dunedin issues and regional development portfolios for the Green Party.

Thank you to everyone who voted for progressive green change in the last election.

We now have the biggest Green caucus ever, and it is made up of such a wealth of lived experience from the Far North to the deep South.

In the deep South we can rightly be proud of our community and local experts.

The ‘‘Dunedin groundwater monitoring, spatial observations and forecast conditions under sea-level rise’’ report published last week is ground-breaking and contains world-class science.

It confirms the inevitability of rapidly increasing flood risk to South Dunedin through increasing soil saturation by groundwater.

This report is a great aid for decision-making in our changing climate.

Dunedin ratepayers are covering the full cost of the important adaptation work in the South Dunedin Future programme, as well as covering the purchase cost of Forbury Park to provide options to mitigate flood risk.

The model of rich community engagement on, and participation in, climate adaptation through the programme is a model that can and should be replicated for coastal settlements around the motu, but can’t be borne by ratepayers alone.

An aerial shot of South Dunedin. PHOTO: ODT FILES
An aerial shot of South Dunedin. PHOTO: ODT FILES
The first few weeks of the 54th Parliament began just before Christmas when we were sworn in and the government immediately put the house into urgency.

I can’t recall a more reactionary, right-wing government in Aotearoa’s history.

We’ve seen world-leading Smokefree legislation ripped down, workers’ rights rubbished and climate initiatives scrapped.

The government has engaged in a chaotic slash and burn of legislation and budgets. It is indeed a great leap backwards.

To date, the National-led government has not presented any plans to reduce emissions or announced any adaptation initiatives.

Clearly the South Dunedin Future programme presents an opportunity for government to engage in climate action with an adaptation focus.

It’s an opportunity for central government to partner with local government, to learn from and replicate the programme and engage other at-risk communities around the motu and internationally.

This excellent example of local climate leadership, with its strong evidence-base and rich community engagement, needs scaling up.

Now it is time for this government to step up.

As your Ōtepoti Dunedin-based Green list-MP, I am advocating for climate action, for our region, and to hold this government to account. My door is open.