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Sandra Goudie. File Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Mayor refuses to sign climate declaration

A Thames-ward councillor has been handed the pen to sign a climate change declaration in place of his Mayor.
Thames-Coromandel district councillor Martin Rodley will sign the Local Government Leaders’ Climate Change Declaration, rather than Mayor Sandra Goudie, even though the document has traditionally been signed by more than 60 mayors throughout the country.
This is because Mayor Goudie is against signing the declaration, which she reiterated at council’s March 22 meeting.
“I don’t believe anyone should be signing this document… and I don’t think we’ve ever quantified the benefits and costs of signing into this declaration, and that’s always been my concern… the unknown quantum of costs.”
In 2019, then-councillors voted not to approve Mayor Goudie signing the declaration, but a local body election that same year saw newcomers take to the council chambers, and it was three of them – Martin Rodley, Robyn Sinclair, and Gary Gotlieb – who encouraged their fellow members to “respect the decision of ratepayers” in December last year. The council voted 6-3 to approve the Mayor signing the Local Government Leaders’ Climate Change Declaration; however, it remained Mayor Goudie’s prerogative to sign it or not.
Now, the declaration will be signed – but by Cr Rodley in her place.
“I have no support for signing this document at all, but I recognise I’m in a minority on this,” Cr Tony Fox said.
Other councillors Robin Sinclair, Terry Walker, Murray McLean, and Gary Gotlieb indicated it was time to “move on”.
“At the moment it’s just hanging around our neck, and I support it, and getting it done,” Cr Walker said.
Meanwhile, Hauraki Coromandel Climate Action, who took the council to the High Court over its decision not to sign the declaration, told The Profile congratulations were in order to most of the councillors for putting an end to “this debacle”.
“Our members are justifiably proud of finally achieving this outcome, which is due in large part to our activism and commitment,” action group chair Denis Tegg said. “Also, our successful High Court judgement is now cited as a landmark court case and is already positively influencing climate change decision-making by both central and local government.”
Mr Tegg said council’s focus should now turn to fulfilling the commitment it made to take ambitious action to reduce its emissions and to show leadership on climate change.