Voters can choose climate action this election

Media release Common Climate Network

New Zealanders can strike for climate action on Friday and follow up by voting for local governments who care about the issue.

The climate strike on Friday (27 Sept) takes place just as people receive their local government voting papers. This year, there is plenty of information to help people choose candidates who care about climate action.

Major news sources Stuff and The Spinoff have both published surveys of candidates highlighting their positions on climate action, reflecting this public push for urgency on the issue.

The Common Climate Network has now published online scorecards for candidates in 20 local government elections across New Zealand at www.commonclimate.nz

The questionnaire asked detailed questions on what actions candidates will take on climate change, particularly their support for initiatives on public transport, energy efficiency, waste reduction, and urban development.

The vast majority of respondents agreed with the statements “I believe councils have an obligation to take a greater leadership position on reducing emissions”, and “I believe councils have an obligation to reduce their emissions”. Only 26 people agreed that “I think the risk of climate change has been exaggerated and should not be treated as an emergency.”

The Common Climate Network worked with local groups including Millions of Mothers, All Saints Parish Green Taskforce, and Low Carbon Kāpiti to tailor the questions for specific climate issues in their particular area. The focus on local groups aims to raise awareness of climate issues outside the main centres.

Robert Gibb, one of the founders and co-leaders of the Green Taskforce at All Saints’ Parish in Palmerston North, said “Green Taskforce members are passionate about the environmental and climate crises that we face, and we saw the CCN questionnaire as an ideal way of letting people know where candidates stand on the wide set of issues that will have to be addressed with considerable urgency for us to pull back from the brink.” 

Alicia Hall, founder and spokesperson for Millions of Mothers, said “Overall it’s great to see candidates thinking about climate and many are including this essential subject in their campaigns. However, we’re disappointed that many candidates including experienced councillors still don’t have the depth of understanding really needed on climate issues.”

Jake Roos, founder of Low Carbon Kāpiti, said “We recognize that individual actions are important, but what’s probably a lot more important is what the decision makers do, the laws of the land and how public money is spent. That will have a greater impact  on climate change and emissions. Hence, it’s crucial at elections that the issues are highlighted and voters are aware of where different candidates stand.”

More information

The Common Climate Network questionnaire covered candidates for 20 councils or community boards:  

  • Environment Southland
  • Gore District Council
  • Horizons Region – Mayoral Candidates
  • Horizons Regional Council
  • Hutt City Council
  • Invercargill City Council
  • Kaikoura Mayoral Candidates
  • Kaipara District Council
  • Kapiti Coast District Council
  • Nelson City Council
  • Northland Regional Council
  • Palmerston North City Council
  • Porirua City Council
  • Southland District Council
  • Tasman Community Boards
  • Tasman District Council
  • Taupō District Council
  • Upper Hutt City Council
  • Waikato Regional Council
  • Westlands District Council
  • Whangarei District Council

Response rate by councils

The response rate ranged from over 75% (Tasman District Council) to 7% (Gore District Council). 

250 candidates replied out of 526, a response rate overall of 48%. Of the 526 surveyed, 29 were elected unopposed, and did not think it was necessary to fill in the survey. 

Age of candidates who replied

Gender of candidates who replied

Ethnicity

Other included:

  • Anglo-Indian
  • British/Irish
  • earth human
  • European
  • European New Zealander
  • ex South African
  • Fijian Indian / Pakistani
  • Jewish
  • Kiwi
  • Maori New Zealander
  • Māori, Tongan, Pākehā
  • New Zealander x 8
  • New Zealander of all colours and creeds
  • NZ Maori/European/Samoan
  • Pacific Island/NZ
  • Pakistani
  • Samoan born with 7 nationalities – German, Swedish, Scottish, English, Chinese, Samoan, NZ European
  • Tokelauan
  • Waitaha – Scottish

Author: Catherine Jeffcoat

Wellington-based communications manager.

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