Teanau Tuiono is running for mayor of Palmerston North because he's concerned that not enough is being done about climate change.

"I think you should either put up or shut up," he said. "I'm of the opinion that if you think you can do a better job put your name forward and that's what I'm doing today."

Tuiono says not only coastal communities will be directly affected by sea-level rise.

"They will have problems with insurance and consents on those coastal communities and my feeling is that they will start to move into the inland cities, and we don't yet have the infrastructure in place to deal with that. So we've actually just got to get on with it."

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"There is no climate action plan in the city council so that's what concerns me the most. You do hear a bit of talk but for me when people talk about these things, you've got to look for certain things. You've got to look for first of all - the action plan. Second - targets and after that - measurements.

"Once you've got those three things in place that's when you know the city is actually on track. We don't have any of that hence the reason I'm putting my hand up."

Tuiono's priority would be a climate mitigation adaptation assessment.

"That tells us exactly where the gaps are as far as infrastructure. That will give us a better picture of how much the thing might cost and so far for me, I think it's really important not to avoid that difficult conversation."

Tuiono says it's a great opportunity for all the councils to get together and lobby central Government for its infrastructure costs to climate-proof the city.

"I am used to working with diverse groups of people. I've got a background in working at the [United Nations]. I'm a lawyer by training and I also work in education as well. My particular specialty is working with indigenous people and the environment, and working at that intersection."

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