Elected Councils

What do our new Dunedin City Councillors and Regional Councillors think about deep sea drilling off our coast? How will they reduce Dunedin’s CO2 emissions and how will they prepare for the impacts of climate change? And… do they believe in human-induced climate change?

Many thanks to all the candidates who answered our pre-election questionaire. We were pleased that you gave us the opportunity to make informed voting decisions. We now know where we stand, which is a much better position to be in compared with those candidates who did not answer.

Answers we were looking for were along the following lines:-

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

Yes, and an understanding of the science as laid out in the Stern and IPCC reports.

What practical steps would you take to reduce Dunedin’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

Public transport. Electric vehicles. Distributed green energy.

What practical steps would you take to prepare Dunedin for the effects of climate change?

Prepare infrastructure for sea level rise in an environmentally sound and equitable way.

Ensure that all citizens are included in mitigation measures.

Do you see a place for deep sea drilling for oil and gas off our coast in Dunedin’s future?

No, and an indication of understanding of the reasons for this conclusion.

eg. There are already enough known reserves to increase the world’s temperature five times the relatively safe 2 degrees.

Overall we were looking for an appreciation of the seriousness of the climate change situation and its effects on future generations, the fact that business as usual is not an option and an ability to connect the dots. eg: extend that appreciation to a resounding NO to deep sea oil drilling.

Responses from October elections are published in full below in alphabetical order, with those who ignored our short survey listed as well.

Mayor Dave Cull

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

Yes.

What practical steps would you take to reduce Dunedin’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

Include in our forthcoming Energy Strategy initiatives to develop and substitute renewable energy for oil based.

What practical steps would you take to prepare Dunedin for the effects of climate change?

We are not sure exactly what the effects will be for Dunedin yet. However rising groundwater in South Dunedin will require mitigation measures, and increasing volatility of rainfall may require increased water storage.

Do you see a place for deep sea drilling for oil and gas off our coast in Dunedin’s future?

World-wide, the time has come to cease further (especially risky) extraction of fossil fuels the burning of which threatens planetry temperatures. then concentrate research efforts on increasing efficiency and developing the alternative energy sources we know we will need as oil based energy runs out. However if extraction proceeds off the Otago coast I don’t want our community taking all the risks for no benefit. So I would want maximum environmental protection measures, regional royalties paid and Dunedin industries gaining the attendant service work.

Aaron Hawkins

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

Yes, it is the single most urgent issue humanity currently faces.

What practical steps would you take to reduce Dunedin’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

A short list to begin with: Fixing our bus system, continuing to invest in smart cycleways, supporting businesses and homeowners to develop more efficient and environmentally friendly energy systems, supporting renewable energy micro-generation, phasing out the use of fossil fuels in DCC buildings and institutions. The effects on carbon emissions, and therefore climate stability, need to be taken into account as part of everything the DCC does.

What practical steps would you take to prepare Dunedin for the effects of climate change?

We need to continue the work being done on alternative energy and transport systems. The current Council has made some positive steps here but we need to do more. The Council, and other major instiutions including the SDHB and the University of Otago, has a moral obligation to lead the way in phasing out the use of fossil fuels, especially their coal fueled generators.

Do you see a place for deep sea drilling for oil and gas off our coast in Dunedin’s future?

Absolutely not! It would be a dereliction of our responsibilities as kaitiakitanga to risk our coastline and environment for the profit of Big Oil.

Andrew Whiley

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

YES

What practical steps would you take to reduce Dunedin’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

Renewable energy needs to be embraced.  Solar and wind energy needs to be embraced.  We also have the ability to put hydro turbines on the water flow from Mt Grand down to the city.  I would also support a hot water power loop around the downtown area fuelled by waste wood from City Forests.  Also support a fast track for all houses and buildings to be developed with Carbon Zero footprint.

What practical steps would you take to prepare Dunedin for the effects of climate change?

Working with the University, local businesses and global experts to see where we can find areas to improve Dunedin’s effects on climate change.  As the city will be more prosperous from the drilling off the coast of Otago the DCC could invest a million dollars on creating a business hub focusing on the development of green technologies.

Do you see a place for deep sea drilling for oil and gas off our coast in Dunedin’s future?

Yes.  As the Oil is not under pressure it will not create the issues many of the Anti Oil community express.  Off the coast of Otago the exploration is looking for gas.  The field is expected to be 90% gas and 10% condensate.  The gas field is expected to be 30 times bigger than Maui off the coast and have a life expectancy of 45 years.  The economic effect on Dunedin will be massive with over 2,000 jobs direct/or indirect and over a billion dollar in GDP for Dunedin & Otago.

I look forward to my complete comments being featured and if you choose to edit any of my content please return for me approve prior to being released to the public.

Lee Vandervis Can you advise who you are and in what form your ’poll’ of all candidates will be released to the media?

David Benson-Pope

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

Yes –Please ask anyone you can find who doesn’t, to retire to a beach-house in Tuvalu.

What practical steps would you take to reduce Dunedin’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

Encourage reduction both within the DCC operation and in the wider community through increased support for home insulation, alternate energy systems, increased use of renewables including advocacy for lower electricity prices, support for biofuels.

Support improved public transport (with modern low/no emission vehicles)

Restructuring of the DCC waste collection to reduce multiple vehicle trips.

What practical steps would you take to prepare Dunedin for the effects of climate change?

Full planning audit (with the ORC) of high risk areas, enhanced protection of established at risk infrastructure and housing

Promote opportunities that will be available as a result of warmer temperatures here.

Do you see a place for deep sea drilling for oil and gas off our coast in Dunedin’s future?

No. I think our priority should be the reduction of dependence on such and replacement (as above).

It seems to me that those who do support drilling are using the same arguments that were used by smelter supporters way back then …

Jinty MacTavish

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

For me, it’s not a matter of ‘believing in’ climate change (I don’t think science is something to be ‘believed in’ or ‘not believed in’), it’s a matter of objectively understanding and listening to the science, which suggests to a very strong degree of certainty that climate change is anthropogenically caused, occurring at rates that should give all of us cause for significant concern, and with potentially catastrophic effects.  The lack of a coordinated global response is, of course, cause for even greater concern.

What practical steps would you take to reduce Dunedin’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

Completing the development of, and committing to implement, our Energy Plan for the city, which will help us reduce our energy use across the board, and hopefully include actions that help us progressively move away from fossil fuels. I think there is a strong argument to also develop strong carbon budgeting and monitoring as part of this Plan.

Focusing on improving safety and accessibility for non-motorised transport modes by (amongst other things) funding and implementing the Strategic Cycle and Strategic Pedestrian Networks as quickly as possible.

Improving the affordability of efficiency of public transport – on the evidence I have seen to date, I think that whilst working with the ORC would improve things slowly, it is likely that the DCC taking on the governance role for PT in the city would enable us to make greater improvements, faster, in this area.

Other work including around local food production, ensuring our 2nd Generation District Plan supports the vision outlined in our Spatial Plan (compact city with resilient townships), etc.

The good news is that all of these projects will not only reduce our emissions, but deliver a range of other economic, cultural, social and health benefits for our city.

What practical steps would you take to prepare Dunedin for the effects of climate change?

The Climate Change Adaptation Study that we have underway for South Dunedin needs to be completed (and a pilot project for bottom up climate change adaptation planning, which is underway in Blueskin). We need to be planning for all of our climate change hotspots, and South Dunedin is the worst of these, so it makes sense for us to be focusing on this first. Once a pathway forward has been identified, we need to ensure our planning documents and our budgets are factoring in our plans for South Dunedin.

The future planning in our newly adopted Spatial Plan, which will be translated into our 2GP, indicates there will be controls on development in low-lying areas. This needs to be followed through on.

Do you see a place for deep sea drilling for oil and gas off our coast in Dunedin’s future?

My position on the basis of the evidence available to me, is that I don’t support drilling for gas and/or oil off our coast. My primary reason for this is that the world already has already discovered five times more fossil fuels than we can burn if we’re to have any chance at a safe climate future*.

In the absence of a global agreement to limit emissions, extracting gas and/or oil from wells off our coast simply adds to that total, further exacerbating the intergenerational inequity caused by rising sea levels, more extreme droughts and floods, and a generally warmer climate. Some argue that’s not a concern of local government, but I consider that argument a bit academic. My responsibility as a councillor is to serve the interests of the city and this extends, as far as I’m concerned, to the future. I couldn’t, for example, look a South Dunedin ratepayer in the eye if I felt I wasn’t doing my best to keep that particular part of Dunedin (amongst others) above water.

In terms of Council’s role, the Government will be consulting with the Council over its 2014 Block Offer, which will be an opportunity for Council to formally submit on the issue. Beyond that, the Government has recently announced that they plan to allow exploratory drilling without a publicly notified resource consent process. This is highly undemocratic and effectively shuts Dunedin citizens out of any discussion about oil and gas exploration off our coast, and in my opinion it’s a proposal Council needs to be submitting against.  In terms of informal engagement and lobbying, a Council is only as strong as the voice of its citizens.

* Carbon Tracker have recently launched an updated analysis of the situation, available at http://www.carbontracker.org/wastedcapital

Neville Peat

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

Yes, the bulk of scientific evidence shows that humans are accelerating climate change through greenhouse gas discharges with the inevitable increase in global temperature, storminess and sea-level rise.

What practical steps would you take to reduce Dunedin’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

I would promote renewable energy options (households and business/industrial sector), energy efficiency/conservation measures and effective public transport to reduce car use. The council’s energy plan, still in development, needs to advocate in all these areas and promote energy.

What practical steps would you take to prepare Dunedin for the effects of climate change?

Get the DCC and the Otago Regional Council to work together on natural hazards planning, especially in the areas of coastal erosion and water-table rise, promote resilience through the 2nd Generation District Plan (food production, wind farm corridors, household renewable energy options, etc).

Do you see a place for deep sea drilling for oil and gas off our coast in Dunedin’s future?

No but it won’t be the DCC’s decision. Council needs to work towards a transition from fossil fuels to clean energy and not have to face risks from deep-sea drilling for hydrocarbons. We need to protect and further promote our unique marine wildlife tourism, worth much more than gas or oil could offer the city.

Richard Thomson

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

I am not a climate scientist so I will be guided by the opinions of those that are. The overwhelming consensus is that anthropogenic climate change is real. Nothing would make me happier than for them to be proven wrong but until that happens I will go with the scientific consensus.

What practical steps would you take to reduce Dunedin’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

The development of an energy plan will enable us to look at the best options to reduce energy cost and impact on the planet. This will allow Council to use the expertise of people who understand far more than me about what we can do differently. I support this.

What practical steps would you take to prepare Dunedin for the effects of climate change?

We need to include long term effects analysis in our planning and we are already doing this. All projects are required to assess impacts of climate change and build that into assumptions. This is sensible and I support it

Do you see a place for deep sea drilling for oil and gas off our coast in Dunedin’s future?

My world view is that we need to change our dependence on extractive energy for all sorts of reasons (future proofing, climate change, pollution amongst them). For this reason I am not comfortable with further exploration when climate scientists tell us we already have reserves greater than what will take us over the top in climate change. I also have concerns about deep drilling in a dangerous piece of ocean. So I would prefer that this not occur. I accept that if it does there will be some potential down stream benefit in terms of support services and I would prefer that Dunedin had those than somewhere else – if we are going to take all the risk then I would prefer that there be some benefit to offset that risk. I would also support consulting with the people of Dunedin as to their views on this.

No response: John Bezett

Hilary Calvert

Doug Hall

Mike Lord

Andrew Noone

Chris Staynes

Kate Wilson

ORC Dunedin Constituency

Louise Croot

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

I believe in climate change.

Other questions are too confined in area for ORC who have an air plan with regular reporting.

As I may chair consents in future I will not comment any further.

Michael Deaker

Thank you for those very good questions.

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

Yes, of course.

What practical steps would you take to reduce Dunedin’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

Continue to work, as I have for 10 years plus now, for affordable improvements to Dunedin’s public passenger system, to lessen the use of private vehicles; continue to support Clean Heat assistance programmes which encourage householders to move away from burning wood and fossil fuels for heating; continue to support the implementation of our Regional Plan: Air plan which controls GHG emissions.

What practical steps would you take to prepare Dunedin for the effects of climate change?

The regional council has a draft plan for climate change in Otago, and I have supported that from the outset. It requires ongoing development and I will work in the coming term to ensure that happens. My main concern is that people in Dunedin and elsewhere will have some protection from the effects of sea-level rise, drought, flood and other forms of increasingly extreme weather, and that they don’t invest money wastefully in such things as coastal defences.

Do you see a place for deep sea drilling for oil and gas off our coast in Dunedin’s future?

Neither ORC nor DCC can realistically influence decisions made by oil and gas exploration companies, until the situation arises where they seek to establish onshore facilities or carry out activities within the coastal marine area. In that circumstance I would oppose any development which led to facilities for oil coming onshore. I would react differently if a commercial gas field was found. While gas still leads to some GHG emissions, there is clear evidence from the USA, China and elsewhere that gas is being sought to replace coal as a fuel for power generation and this would lead to significant reduction of harmful emissions.

Gretchen Robertson

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

Yes. It is well proven in the science and is adopted in NZ national policies.

What practical steps would you take to reduce Dunedin’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

Promote and encourage efficient public transport. Continue working as a hearing commissioner to ensure industry air discharges are cleaned up. Ensure the stringent rules in the Regional Plan Air are adhered to.

What practical steps would you take to prepare Dunedin for the effects of climate change?

Ensure residents are well aware of the very real impacts of sealevel rise especially. This will mean a planned retreat over the long term. Already groundwater levels are above ground level in areas of South Dunedin. Continuing to pump seawater through the stormwater system via the Musselborough pumping station is not sustainable. I would encourage a forum to be organised on sealevel rise including NZ and international brains. Dunedin needs to get serious about what its options are long term when its flat areas are under water. No option should be left off the table. Should South Dunedin return to wetland, should a channel be reinstated connecting the south coast with the harbour (effectively making the peninsula an island again) etc etc. The sea wall at St Clair is not an effective solution and never has been. Sand dunes are not present anymore and each year we lose more dirt along the coast. The ORC could reconsider writing a Climate Change Plan which ensures district/city councils adopt accepted sealevel rise projections and plan for the real hazards we face.

Do you see a place for deep sea drilling for oil and gas off our coast in Dunedin’s future?

This is not under the ORC’s jurisdiction so I would be speaking purely as an individual. I would need to have absolute assurance that the risks no more than minor. As I am a scientist I weigh all risks up against each other. My questioning mind would need to be convinced.

Thank you for the opportunity to present these responses.

ORC Moeraki Constituency

No response: Doug Brown

Gerrard Eckhoff

Trevor Kempton

Sam Neill

Bryan Scott

ORC Molyneux Constituency

No response: David Shepherd

Stephen Woodhead

Chalmers Community Board

Trevor Johnson

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

No

What practical steps would you take to reduce Dunedin’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

Nil It may have escaped your organisations attention but the DCC is broke and the ratepayers just cant pay anymore.

What practical steps would you take to prepare Dunedin for the effects of climate change?

Nil As above

Do you see a place for deep sea drilling for oil and gas off our coast in Dunedin’s future?

Yes I do and for the record I believe in jobs for young New Zealanders and would like my children to come home from overseas and get a job here instead of having to go overseas. Then perhaps we could afford some of your organisation’s  dreams.

5. You will also note unlike you I have added my name to the E mail and have not hidden my ID

Steve Walker

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

YES

What practical steps would you take to reduce Dunedin’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

On a personal level my wife and I have retro fitted our house with double glazing, completely insulated the property, installed solar for hot water (10 years ago), replaced the garden lawn with extensive organic fruit and vegetable production areas and replaced all our lighting to take advantage of low energy use alternatives, I would like to see greater council subsidies available for people on lower incomes in order to allow them to take advantage of such practical and simple measures. At a city level I would like to encourage the DCC to continue to develop and ultimately implement the Energy Plan along with looking at the possibility of more accessable and vastly cheaper bus services. The current council strategy on alternative modes of transport as laid out in the draft transportation strategy should be supported.

What practical steps would you take to prepare Dunedin for the effects of climate change?

The DCC needs to lead by example and should therefore be encouraged to employ as many energy saving processes as is practicable in all its buildings. As mentioned above greater encouragement / subsidies / partnerships can be put in place so that people are better placed to take advantage of and get access to simple energy saving alternatives.

Do you see a place for deep sea drilling for oil and gas off our coast in Dunedin’s future?

Dunedin cannot market itself as the nature capital of New Zealand while at the same time be part of a highly polluting, cynical not to mention Jurassic industry. The same ‘safety spin’ has been spouted by company executives the world over for decades. However, that is of little consolation to the people of Alaska (Exxon Valdez oil spill), the residents living in the Mississippi River Delta,region (Deepwater Horizon oil spill), the massive environmental issues reaped on the people of the Niger Delta (including the imprisonment and murder of peace activists). The list is endless and can also include the hundreds of leaks that have occurred and been covered up (fortunately not all of them) in the North Sea since the 1970’s, and this from an area that supposedly uses the ‘safest’ available technologies in the world!

No response: Mel Aitken

Peter Cole

Ange McErlane

Raewynne Pedofski

Otago Peninsula Community Board

Christine Garey

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

Yes and I have been shocked at the number of candidates whom seem unsure or uninformed about this issue! The report released this week, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that leading climate scientists are  more certain than ever before  (95% certain) global warming is man-made and they are warning that the impact of greenhouse gas emissions will linger for centuries.

What practical steps would you take to reduce Dunedin’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

I would support the work already undertaken by DCC e.g. the energy plan, the draft transportation strategy etc and support further initiatives by Council to affect a reduction in GHG.  However we need to educate our community.    The sustainability courses rolled out around the city and led by Dr Maureen Howard have had a significant impact.  Financial incentives are powerful in changing behaviors too eg.insulation reducing heating costs

We need to ensure:

  • our bus service is efficient and affordable – in that way support  a decrease in the use of private motor vehicles.
  • the completion of the Portobello/ Harington Pt Rd  Improvement  Project which  will render safer pedestrian access and a cycleway in that area
  • the establishment of safe and linked cycleways  through the city
  • energy saving strategies  city wide
  • continuation of the warmer housing scheme
  • use of alternative energy so that it becomes  the norm  – encouraging innovation in our city in this area e.g. Powerhouse and their single blade turbine

What practical steps would you take to prepare Dunedin for the effects of climate change?

I have already been working on this in my role as a community board member.    The Otago Peninsula Community Board has worked with Council staff on proactive sea wall repair and height increases  in  areas already affected by extreme storm events  (linked to Climate Change). We vigorously supported the Te Rauone Groyne establishment to protect Council reserve and infrastructure as well as private property at Te Rauone from ongoing erosion and extreme weather events.  Our efforts advocating for the completion of the Portobello/Harington Pt Rd Safety Improvement Project will mean the raising of the road levels to cope with sea level rise.   This project will considerably affect communties’ connectedness – a key factor in strengthening communities and making them resilient for future challenges connected with climate change.  Our work with Council staff and contractors to better respond to extreme weather events and improve communications with the community have been significant  and effective and will stand the Peninsula community  in good stead for future  extreme weather events.

I have been actively involved in this work and it is what I will use as my model for citywide communities.  These initiatives are already making a difference in our local communities.

Do you see a place for deep sea drilling for oil and gas off our coast in Dunedin’s future?

Absolutely not.  With over $100 million coming from wildlife tourism on the OtagoPeninsula – to pursue oil and gas exploration has too greater risk – for the wildlife but also of jeopardising jobs and the contribution this tourism makes to the economy.    Ironically, many have cited employment  as a reason to roll out the welcome mat for the  oil companies!    Those who are supportive of this venture seem to forget that eg we have the only mainland colony of northern albatross in the world and just because the rig would be out of sight, doesn’t make it any less risky!     Many have said that life is full of managed risk – true but this is a risk we don’t need to take – the price is too high.     Also many candidates have mentioned the jobs that will come to Dunedin from this venture – none I have spoken to have researched the Aberdeen experience- it was not all good!  Those not involved in the oil industry in Aberdeen had their wages capped, their standard of living slipped and  houses became unaffordable.   Underpinning all of this though, given the report just released by the  IPCC, long gone is the time when we should be actively seeking new sources of fossil fuels anyway!

Thanks for the opportunity to answer these questions.

 

No response: Wayne Cameron

Lox Kellas

Hoani Langsbury

Christine Neill

Paul Pope

Edna Stevenson

Mosgiel Taieri Community Board

Maurice Prendergast

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

No

What practical steps would you take to reduce Dunedin’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

None

What practical steps would you take to prepare Dunedin for the effects of climate change?

None –climate change has always and will always occur

Do you see a place for deep sea drilling for oil and gas off our coast in Dunedin’s future?

Yes, Unashamedly

No response: Blackie Catlow

Bill Feather

Sarah Nitis

Mark Willis

Saddle Hill Community Board

No response: Pamela Jemmett

Keith McFadyen

John Moyle

Leanne Stenhouse

Jonathan Usher

Scott Weatherall

Strath Taieri Community Board

No response: Bevan Thomas Dowling

Noel Matthews

Barry Williams

Joan Wilson

Mat O’Connell

Russell Anderson

Waikouaiti Coast Community Board

Mark Brown

Do you believe in anthropogenic climate change?

No

What practical steps would you take to reduce Dunedin’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

Promote electric cars

What practical steps would you take to prepare Dunedin for the effects of climate change?

Not necessary

Do you see a place for deep sea drilling for oil and gas off our coast in Dunedin’s future?

Yes if it is there

No resonse: Gerard Collings

Alasdair Morrison

Richard Russell

Tracey Scurr

Geraldine Tait

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