Informed locals sought to join climate reference group

Jan 24, 2023

People with the drive and insight to help address local effects of climate change are invited to join Queenstown Lakes District Council’s (QLDC) independent Climate Reference Group (CRG).

The CRG has been advising Council on climate and biodiversity action since August 2020. It has been instrumental in delivering projects, embedding climate action into Council planning, and developing the Queenstown Lakes Climate and Biodiversity Plan 2022-25.

QLDC Climate Action Programme Manager Katherine Durman said that vacancies had arisen as a result of former Chairperson Bridget Legnavsky moving overseas, and also Mayor Glyn Lewers’ decision to make the group fully independent by stepping down three QLDC elected members and one Otago Regional Councillor.

“This is a significant opportunity for applicants to join eight other like-minded individuals who collectively provide expert advice to help guide Council’s response to the huge climate and ecological challenges we all face. We strongly encourage those who know of potential candidates to talk to them about applying,” she said.

“We continue to set ourselves bold targets following Council’s declaration of a climate emergency in 2019 and need the help of the wider community to reach them. Our landscape attracts a diverse range of people to the district and many bring vast experience of environmental issues. Whatever your age, background or area of expertise, if you’re committed to making a positive difference then this is your chance to create change at a district level and beyond.”

“We’re also seeking interest for a rakatahi (youth) seat and welcome anyone under the age of 25 to apply. No particular experience in climate or biodiversity is required – just passion and energy,” said Ms Durman.

Mayor Lewers expressed his gratitude to the other elected members who are now stepping down.

“Huge thanks to Councillors Gladding, Smith, Whitehead and Forbes for their valuable contributions over the past two years. QLDC will continue to inform all elected members about the CRG’s ongoing work through formal governance processes,” he said.

“It’s important for the CRG to provide Council with independent guidance and advice based on its combined knowledge, research and expertise. I’m looking forward to seeing what additional talents the new members will bring.”

Whilst QLDC welcomes all applications and will consider a variety of skills and knowledge, particular subject areas that would complement the current group include climate adaptation, energy, business, tourism, regenerative agriculture, forestry, biodiversity, built environment, planning, and climate action in a local government context.

Applications can be made via a form on the QLDC website here. The closing date is Sunday 12 February.

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