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Regional Council notes

December 9, 2019 December 2019 No Comments

Looking back over the years there has always been something in the news that called us to take action.  Long ago the three main drivers of unrest; the need for more resources, religion and inequality were deemed adequate reason for us to kill one another and take over the resources of the vanquished.  Of course all three still exist and still cause major unrest in some countries but here at home in our mostly peaceful country we have found other matters to get up-in-arms over.

A couple of governments ago it was personal safety.  Spurred on by a massive media campaign people reported that they no longer felt safe in their own homes, crime was out of control and police resources were stretched to breaking.  When those stories ceased to sell newspapers we moved on to mental health.  Prior to the last general election DHB’s were inundated with Official Information Act requests on the state of mental health services in their districts and media was littered with bad news stories about mental illness and addiction.

Now we have climate change as the latest challenge and wound round the narrative on this are various other environmental matters that we are told will affect our countries future.

The trouble is that the whole thing is becoming so complicated that people are turning off the subject when this is the very time we need everyone to be engaged in it.  It’s like having the TV blaring in the lounge 24 hours a day.  Eventually no one hears it. 

Climate change is here and it’s real.  Anyone who hasn’t noticed that our weather patterns are altering and becoming more extreme must have had their head down a rabbit hole for quite some time.  Whether we agree that it’s man-made and can be halted or not is irrelevant. It’s here and we need to adapt.  Considering things like where and how we build, how we use our land, managing natural hazards and environmental risk should all be part of the conversation.  These things may mean that the ways we used to operate are now not fit for a future of extreme weather.

Councils, both Regional and Local play a hugely important part in leading these often difficult conversations.  Coming up with the solutions though needs buy-in from everyone and acceptance that councils cannot control the forces of nature; they can only manage the risk.  

Adrienne Staples

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