Ben Hill is a reporter for The New Zealand Herald

Auckland mayoral candidate Vic Crone defends climate change comments

Auckland Mayoral candidate Vic Crone said her comments on climate change were blown out of proportion. Photo / Dean Purcell
Auckland Mayoral candidate Vic Crone said her comments on climate change were blown out of proportion. Photo / Dean Purcell

Global warming and rising sea-levels caused by humans will eventually result in Tamaki Drive being completely underwater according to scientists, but Auckland mayoral candidate Vic Crone has scrambled to defend herself after refusing to say if she believed in man-made climate change.

In an interview Crone, was asked if she believed the Earth was warming due to human activity.

"Oh gosh that's a very contentious debate, so ... of course you've got erosion across Auckland. Whether you say that's because of humans or it's actually a cycle, I'm not going to get drawn into that debate" was her response.

A spokeswoman for Crone said her comments had been "blown out of proportion", and Crone said in a statement that she "actually does believe in climate change and that humans are contributing to it".

"The reference to it being contentious is basically that I've heard a range of views across Auckland, particularly as you start to narrow it down, but also about what role Council should be playing," Crone said.

Auckland University senior lecturer Dr Cate Macinnis-Ng said Auckland is particularly vulnerable to climate change as it is a coastal city.

"When we have Tamaki Drive flooding during storm events with king high tides, that's going to happen more frequently.

"Houses close to beaches will be inundated more frequently ... there's a lot of problems for Auckland associated with rising sea levels and frequent storm events."

She said there was "no question" that humans are influencing the climate, and that at current rates waterfront roads such as Tamaki Drive would eventually be submerged due to rising sea levels.

"To suggest anything else is really against the scientific consensus.

"The main issue in the next few decades isn't just the sea level itself, I think it's that together with big storms and big king tides ... when flooding happens it'll become much more severe."

Fellow candidate Phil Goff said he was "flabbergasted" when he heard Crone's original comments and that he "absolutely" believes climate change is influenced by humans.

He added that global warming is currently the single-most significant environmental issue.

John Palino said he "believed for sure that humans were a part of [global warming]".

"You look at the hole in the ozone layer we do know is caused by humans, we know that for a fact."

Chloe Swarbrick has released a detailed four-step policy plan for the environment, and noted Auckland was at threat from the impacts of warmer temperatures.

"We're surrounded by water, so it's not great for us as we see the encroachment of the sea.

"What we need to be doing is implementing sensible, sustainable policies and technology as well that sees us combat it."

She had no apprehensions about confirming her belief in man-made climate change.

"Yes, absolutely. There are more scientists that believe that human activity has an impact on the climate than scientists that agree that smoking kills."

- NZ Herald

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