KCDC Councillor Sophie Handford says she’s proud of her part in getting climate change embedded in all council decisions.
In the second part of her interview with KIN’s Jeremy Smith, Sophie says:
“One of the biggest pieces of mahi I have been keen to get on the table is a plan to act on the Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency in 2019, having advocated for this through School Strike 4 Climate NZ.
“Only several weeks ago did we adopt the principles of our Climate Emergency Action Framework which will be part of ensuring that climate change is integrated across Council and embedded in all that we do.”
Cr Handford (20), one of the youngest councillors in Aotearoa, holds the climate and youth portfolions on the Kāpiti Coast District Council.
She says: “We know there is so much more mahi that lies ahead and for us to truly be the best ancestors possible, we must use this window of time we have right now.
‘A factor in each decision’
Further to this, I have been working to get a climate considerations section on the report templates for agenda papers to ensure that the fact that we’re in a climate emergency is truly a factor in each decision that we are making as a Council.
Through the long term plan process, we locked in:
- An extra $150k for climate mitigation initiatives,
- A budget for a full-time staff member to work on climate education across our diverse community and to support people to reduce their own footprint, their business’s footprint or their school’s footprint,
- $300k over two years for the purchase of EVs to transition the Council fleet,
And $250k across three years to do the mahi needed to truly ensure the climate crisis informs all of Council decision making and that our Climate Emergency Action Framework (to be adopted this year) has some funding to support it and its development too. Just to name a few.
‘I hope I have broken a few ceilings‘
( Secondly ) “In terms of the youth space, I am hoping I have broken a few ceilings to ensure that young people in Kāpiti know that Council is their place, it is our place.” she says.
“It’s hard to be what you can’t see so it’s my hope that by me being on Council, youth know they can be too. Through the long term plan, we also secured $50k for a youth space in Ōtaki.
“There is a whole bunch more kōrero still to be had on this with youth in Ōtaki. But the budget is now there to progress the leasing of a space to ensure rangatahi in Ōtaki have a space to connect and hang out, outside school.”