A local climate action group has taken Thames-Coromandel District Council to court over its decision to not sign the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) climate change declaration. Hauraki Coromandel Climate Action wants the decision to be declared unlawful by the High Court. It also seeks an order that TCDC must reconsider the decision after properly taking account of the global consensus that we face a climate emergency, the Local Government Act decision-making requirements, and its own policies and plans relating to climate change and engagement with its communities.
The court application also contends that it is unreasonable for TCDC to decline to commit to ambitious plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions when there are significant predicted adverse effects from climate change for the Thames Coromandel District, New Zealand, and the planet.
HCCA chairperson Denis Tegg said predicted local impacts “include an increase in sea levels and the frequency of coastal flooding and erosion, greater risk of fire and drought, negative impacts on biodiversity and bio security, and oceanic impacts such as acidification in the Firth of Thames.” “In light of these potentially grave threats to our communities and the overwhelming global consensus on climate change, it is alarming and distressing that TCDC has not joined 65 other mayors and chairs and signed the LGNZ declaration” said Mr Tegg.
TCDC has not adopted a climate change emission reduction policy.
“The only material TCDC considered before making its decision was a short report from Mayor Sandra Goudie who was against signing the declaration” said Mr Tegg. “In preparing her report the Mayor failed to understand or did not accept the scientific consensus on the predicted impacts of human-caused climate change. The Mayor has made public statements to this effect.”
“It is highly unusual for councils to make significant decisions such as this without first considering thorough analysis from senior staff”. “The fact that the only material presented to TCDC was from the Mayor who had refused to say whether she agreed humans were causing climate change, gives us no confidence that robust lawful decision-making processes were followed.” Mr Tegg said.