New and younger members of Horizons Regional Council are turning up the heat on their elders when it comes to climate change.
The council's principal strategy and policy adviser, Tom Bowen, presented its climate change policy work to the council on November 26. He said strategy was still being developed and could get funding allocated in the annual plan next year.
That's not fast enough for some.
New Palmerston North councillor Fiona Gordon said she was underwhelmed. She wanted a regional inventory of emissions, and ways to reduce them.
Recently-elected Horowhenua councillor Sam Ferguson said the council should show leadership.
He was born in 1979 and every year since has been hotter than average, he said.
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"We could be the first to truly lead a just transition to a zero carbon economy."
Whanganui councillor Nicola Patrick has wanted more focus on climate change, and now has allies. She said Horizons should "get its own house in order" rather than working with local authorities, and wanted thought given to the effect of climate change on other species.
She asked for a te ao Māori lens as well as a climate change lens to be run over every decision.
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Other councillors were more cautious.
"Climate change is highly emotive and very divisive within the community, because not everybody shares the same view," Rangitīkei councillor Bruce Gordon said.
He predicted a backlash and public debate about it.
New Ruapehu councillor Weston Kirton said increased focus would cost more in rates. The council should talk to the community first, and not change tack abruptly.
Council chief executive Michael McCartney said climate change was already one of Horizons' top three priorities, with water quality and the advance of science and information. The council had limited resource to put into it and it would take time to get local authorities on board.
"We are doing the best we can with our resource," McCartney said.
Bowen said his initial presentation was only about policy - there was also a long list of actions.
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Ferguson added a seventh sentence to the resolution before the council.
He wanted it to acknowledge that climate change is an emergency. This was watered down to climate change being "a serious issue that needs significant attention", and agreed to by all.
The council's next step will be a climate change workshop.