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Nelson Mail - 2021-11-26

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Council adopts ‘five star’ climate plan

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Skara Bohny skara.bohny@stuff.co.nz

Nelson’s Climate Action Plan is back in gear after a last-minute motion by councillor Kate Fulton briefly held up the decision-making last week. Fulton introduced a seven-page document with a series of proposed amendments to the Climate Action Plan last week, something which she said she indicated earlier in the month but which took staff and councillors by surprise on the day. The decision was adjourned until Tuesday this week. Fulton brought a tweaked proposal to the meeting on Tuesday which she hoped would address the concerns raised by councillors and staff, but it was a further revised proposal that eventually won majority support after a couple of hours of discussion. Fulton put forward her amendments largely due to the initial action plan proposal including a broader strategic framework only as the second step. She said these could have been delivered by December 1 with only minor work from staff, but based on feedback, her revised proposal allowed for delivery of the strategic framework in around February or March next year, with the final climate action plan in July. ‘‘What’s missing [in the Climate Action Plan] is the narrative, and some of this qualitative and quantitative analysis, in terms of how we measure our progress,’’ she said. ‘‘I appreciate that it is quite a tight timeframe, but I had hoped that this work would have been done by now, I think I emailed this feedback [to staff] in June ... this is trying to speed up a process that I thought had started many months ago.’’ Councillors were hesitant to adopt Fulton’s proposals due to concerns that it could delay implementing the overall action plan. Councillor Matt Lawrey said that the council’s climate change emergency declaration was made two years ago, and to wait even longer to implement a plan ‘‘does not signal urgency’’. ‘‘I acknowledge that Councillor Fulton has a lot of passion for this work and has put a lot of work and expertise into it, but I’m going to stick with the plan that we had in our agenda last week, a plan that has been supported by the Nelson [Tasman] Climate Forum, a plan that was given a five-star review by Dr Jenny Easton.’’ A compromise was eventually reached in which the council adopted the Climate Action Plan with an acknowledgement that it was a ‘‘living document’’ which could be updated and changed as time went on, and established a Climate Change Governance Oversight Group.

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