Opinion: working jointly for South D

A week ago James Shaw stepped down from parliament after a decade of service, leaving a long list of successes and with many many friends wishing him well.

In his powerful valedictory he said, "if I have learned one lesson, it is that we will always need political leaders who can rise above the politics that brought them here" and the many Green accomplishments under his leadership demonstrated how well he put that into practice.

The same week a meeting was held involving members of both Government and opposition to discuss the South Dunedin Future (SDF) programme with Dunedin Mayor Jules Radich, chief executive Sandy Graham and SDF programme manager Jonathan Rowe.

My thanks to the Minister for Rural Communities and Associate Minister for Regional Development Mark Patterson for hosting a round table and inviting the Minister for Climate Change to join us.

This meeting was our first step towards building cross-party political consensus on adaption to climate impacts.

The ground-breaking work of the South Dunedin Future programme was presented to Minister Simon Watts and ideas were freely shared.

We are still in early days, but the challenges we face in adapting to climate impacts will need to be addressed through successive governments.

The more we can do to build consensus, the greater the potential for an enduring solution for not only South Dunedin, but for other at risk communities.

And as we’re told, with the right approach "South Dunedin can be a space with less flooding, better housing, and great parks and beaches, a rich culture and celebrated history – a place we can still be proud of’’.

All the more reason to bring everyone to the table.

Jonathan Rowe and members of the South Dunedin Future team have done an excellent job of working with the community, in particular the South Dunedin Network, and weaving together council, community, iwi and academia.

Now it is up to politicians to achieve the same result politically.

Far too often we focus on areas of conflict and disagreement, but the climate crisis will require collective action, and for us to rise above politics.

For, as James Shaw said in his valedictory, "the only true legacy we can leave is to cherish the world we've been given, and to bequeath a better one for our descendants".

It is up to us.