What makes a great local government climate policy?
The climate crisis is here. Local government has a huge role to play, and this year’s election is the perfect chance to make a difference. Thank you for stepping up to the challenge for your community.
While climate change is a complex problem, we have all the solutions we need - all that’s left is the public support and political will to implement them. Regardless of your region, role, or where you’re at on your climate action journey, we invite you to consider how you can make your policies even better aligned to the urgent systemic changes required.
Here are some policies that we consider crucial & realistic for you, as an individual candidate, to take on as real solutions to the climate crisis:
- Expanding public transport frequency and access, regardless of uptake or revenue: Public transport is a public service that is designed to help people with the basics of life, like getting around in an affordable, healthy, safe, and sustainable way. It should never be intended for profit!
- De-prioritising private vehicle ownership: As the first Emissions Reduction Plan stated, “the only effective way to reduce New Zealand’s emissions from transport is for New Zealanders to drive less.” EVs will not be enough. We need to reduce our reliance on cars, which is harmful not only to the climate crisis, but our health (less active lifestyles & noise and air pollution), safety (car accidents), housing (sprawling cities that are distant from necessary amenities), productivity (congestion), and equity (not everyone can afford an EV).
- More, better and safer walking and cycling: Right now, our cities and our city streets are designed for cars. We need to make it better, safer and more attractive for people to walk and cycle. That means reallocating street space to safe, separated footpaths and safe, separated cycleways as well as public transport, while still allowing room for journeys that mustneed to be made by car. It also means making it safe and easy for children to walk and cycle to school.
- Supporting inter-regional and inter-city public transport services: Flights are some of the most carbon-intensive ways that individuals can travel, but it is often the only competitive option for getting between places. Local government can support alternatives such as electric buses and trains (passenger rail, not just the fancy expensive tourist ones).
FAQs for candidates
How did you come up with the commitments in the survey?
We reached out to our entire coalition of 30+ climate organisations, and crowd-sourced these statements. The focus was on making sure that improvements and expansion of public and active transport was prioritised, even/especially when it is difficult or expensive to do so. This is because the cost and harms of not acting on climate change will always be greater than the short-term costs of implementing these changes (not to mention all the co-benefits such as safer, healthier, more accessible communities!).
We do not want this to be a box-ticking exercise, nor did we want to reward greenwashing (policies that sound nice, but will be too slow or not effective at hitting our emissions reduction targets). So rather than asking, “Do you agree to these 4 asks?”, we wanted to measure commitment to impactful policies that are in line with the urgency of the climate crisis.
How does the scoring work?
A summary of the scoring process can be found here. We took into account things like:
- Giving leeway for areas where some candidates might not yet have visibility/information before being elected.
- Making sure that key policies that are critical to realistic emissions reduction are always required for a tick. This is to make sure that we are accurately identifying candidates who understand the urgency of climate change as reiterated by numerous expert bodies like the IPCC and the UN, and to make sure that the survey doesn’t reward greenwashing.
While we would love for all candidates to be able to give hard commitments to delivering on climate action, we understand that it can be dependent on things like budgets and the views of the other governing members that you work alongside. Therefore, we have worded all statements so that they are focussed on supporting & working towards goals, rather than committing to delivering, which should be in every candidate’s sphere of influence regardless of region or role.
- E.g. you might not be able to promise that your region gets affordable transport, but you are always able to work towards ensuring affordable transport.
The scoring is done in an automated fashion - it is the same each time.
Is the 100-word blurb scored?
The 100-word blurbs are not considered during the scoring. This is simply an opportunity for you to share your thoughts on climate policy.
Why show ticks/crosses rather than showing all the survey answers?
One of our main aims is to make it easy for the public to get out and vote for the climate this election. We know that local elections tend to have low turnout, and understanding of how local government works is limited. We wanted to make sure that it’s easy for members of your communities to see which candidates are the most committed to urgent climate action, without overwhelming them with information.
We initially considered a scorecard (e.g. A+, B-), but decided that showing support for/against specific asks would be clearer and more descriptive in our case, where we are focussing on public & active transport.
What if I disagree with how I was scored?
We acknowledge that our scoring approach might not give the results you expected. If this is the case, email us at [email protected] and we can either take your profile down, or offer some other options to show your commitment.
How can I use my platform to show my support for this campaign?
Firstly, thank you! We’re a mostly volunteer team, so this is hugely appreciated 🥰 Here are some ways that you could use your voice to amplify our campaign:
- Follow, like & share our socials:
- Share us with other candidates to make sure that they’re aware of us & get some ideas on how they can make their own climate policies even better.