Information about actions taken since climate emergency declared

Hugh Davenport made this Official Information request to Wellington City Council

Response to this request is long overdue. By law Wellington City Council should have responded by now (details and exceptions). You can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: Hugh Davenport

Dear Wellington City Council,

Since you declared a climate emergency last month, I would like to know what tangible steps you have taken to improve the climate change problem. I would also like to know what steps you have planned for the immediate future, with timelines and action points required.

For all of these actions made, I would like to see data showing how it improved (or will improve).

If no actions have been made or planned to date, I would like to request the reason why the council declared an emergency then did nothing to follow through with that declaration.

Yours faithfully,

Hugh Davenport

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From: BUS: Assurance
Wellington City Council

Dear Hugh

Thank you for your email dated 3 July 2019 submitted via FYI requesting information about actions taken since a climate change emergency was declared.

Our team will manage your request under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 which requires us to respond as soon as possible, but no later than 31 July 2019.

The reference number for your request is IRO-8742.

Please contact us if you have any further questions.

Kind regards

Jessica Hall
Assurance Services Coordinator  | Wellington City Council
| W Wellington.govt.nz | |

The information contained in this email is privileged and confidential and intended for the addressee only.
If you are not the intended recipient, you are asked to respect that confidentiality and not disclose, copy or make use of its contents.
If received in error you are asked to destroy this email and contact the sender immediately. Your assistance is appreciated.

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A O'Sullivan left an annotation ()

Request referred to in Kiwiblog General Debate today 5 July.

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From: Ian Hunter
Wellington City Council

Dear Mr Davenport,

Thank you for your email to the Council received on 3 July 2019 in which you requested information relating to the Council's declaration of a Climate and Ecological emergency on 20 June 2019 and what steps the Council are taking in respect of this.

WCC declared a 'climate and ecological emergency' on 20 June at the City Strategy Committee, adopting Te Atakura First to Zero Carbon Plan on the same day in support of the declaration.

The declaration means the Council will apply a 'climate lens' over all policy and strategy formation and Council operations, and Te Atakura provides us with a blueprint that will guide Wellington city's carbon emissions reduction, reaching net zero emissions by no later than 2050.

Wellington City Council has been working on emissions reductions for a long period of time. Notably, Wellington city's emissions are dominated by transport emissions which account for 60% of our city's total. The 'Let's Get Wellington Moving' programme is aimed at moving more people with less cars, and running in conjunction with this project will be specific climate change projects, prepared in detail and submitted for funding at the next Long Term Plan. Throughout this process the Council will continue to work on projects that will make a big difference in emissions reduction. These include:

- introducing more cycle lanes
- implementing bus priority measures to improve public transport / make public transport more efficient
- support / invest in electric vehicle infrastructure and car share
- undertake a new spatial plan/District Plan for the city that ensures the city remains compact and growth occurs in existing urban areas

The Council will continue to monitor and track our progress and provide updates on how we are tracking on a regular basis.

Further information on this issue, including the Te Atakura First to Zero Carbon Plan is available on the Councils website via the following link: https://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/...

Should you have any further questions please feel free to contact me.

Kind regards,
Ian

Ian Hunter
Assurance Advisor | Complaints and Information Assurance | Governance and Assurance Directorate | Wellington City Council
P 04 803 8315 | M 021 227 8315 |
E [email address] | W Wellington.govt.nz | |

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From: Hugh Davenport

Dear Ian Hunter,

Thanks for your response, but unfortunately it does not actually answer my request at all. I had asked for what actions have been done or planned for the *immediate future*, and any data showing how those actions have improved the situation (or will improve).

Your response as it stands looks like the familiar political text that you show, yet fails to have any data showing that you are actually doing anything at all to improve your emissions.

You mention that WCC have been working on emissions reduction for a long time. It would be great if you can point to a few actions that WCC have done, and any related data showing that those actions have made a significant improvement.

You mention that as part of your Let's Get Wellington Moving plan, you have the following planed (I assume not limited to):
- introducing more cycle lanes
- implementing bus priority measures to improve public transport / make public transport more efficient
- support / invest in electric vehicle infrastructure and car share
- undertake a new spatial plan/District Plan for the city that ensures the city remains compact and growth occurs in existing urban areas

Yet, you have not given any timelines for any of these actions, or any data showing that they will improve the situation. If you are planning on introducing more cycle lanes, what are the locations, what are the timeframes, what research has been done to show that it will improve emissions (by reducing car usage and increasing bike usage most likely). Same for the public transport, have you for example investigated applying requirements for electric buses rather than the diesel we are currently using? What would the timeline for these bus priority measures be?

So, could you please provide a substantial response by COB today (as the deadline of the original LGOIMA request) describing key actions you have taken, or timelines for actions in the immediate future. For those actions, I would like data showing how it has improved (or will improve). Given you have not described any key actions you have done, or any actions and timelines for the future, or provided any data showing how the climate changes have improved with those actions (or will improve), I am thinking that this is all a political tactic with no actions. If that is the case, I remind you of my last paragraph in my original request "If no actions have been made or planned to date, I would like to request the reason why the council declared an emergency then did nothing to follow through with that declaration."

Look forward to your response by 5pm today. You are within your rights to apply for an extension with a valid reason.

Yours sincerely,

Hugh Davenport

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From: Hugh Davenport

Dear Wellington City Council,

Just a reminder that a response to this request is due by COB today. I have just responded to Ian Hunter as the response he sent failed to respond to any of the information requests I asked (such as actions, timelines and data showing improvement). I would have expected a better response from the council.

Yours faithfully,

Hugh Davenport

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Sent to Cr Gilberd, Cr Lee, and Cr Pannett today:

Hi,

I'm writing to you three as it appears your portfolio's align with the request I made last month which the council has not responded properly to.

I made a LGOIMA request on July 3 2019, available to read at https://fyi.org.nz/request/10666-informa.... The gist of the information I wanted was the actions the council has taken since declaring an emergency, or have planned to do in the immediate future (with timeframes), as well as data that shows whether those actions made improvements, or will make improvements to the climate change issue. If there are no actions taken since declaring an emergency, or planned for the immediate future, then I requested the reason why the council declared an emergency then did nothing to follow through with that declaration.

Yesterday I received a response from Ian Hunter, which appears to just be political drivel and doesn't actually answer the request at all. There were no actions mentioned since the emergency was declared, and all the "future" actions to be taken were for the "long term plan", not for the immediate future (which I assume means the council is planning on doing nothing until 2049, then a big rush). There was also no data showing whether anything the council has done has actually improved the situation, or even whether the long term actions (as there are no immediate future plans) will have any impact. Finally there was no reasoning why the council have not done anything. Due to the fact that none of my request was actually answered, the response from Ian Hunter does not fulfil the requirements for a LGOIMA request. The response was legally due yesterday, and it appears that the council is not taking their legal responsibility seriously enough to make the correct response.

Would you be able to chase up this request for me to get a response ASAP. The response should include actions taken or planned for the immediate future, backed up by data showing improvements. If there are no actions taken or planned for the immediate future, then some reasoning on why the council declared the emergency then did nothing would be appreciated.

Please note that this email does not entail a new LGOIMA request, this is simply letting you know that an overdue request needs responding to. This should not reset the LGOIMA deadline, and a response should be prepared and sent to me ASAP. If you can make all responses via FYI that would be appreciated, as other members of the public are following this request.

Feel free to let me know when I could expect a response to this overdue request.

Cheers,

Hugh

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From: Hugh Davenport

Dear Wellington City Council,

Can I please have a response to this LGOIMA request please. I note that it is overdue. The response from Ian Hunter on the 31st did not actually respond to any of the request like the actions the council has taken but rather just gave some political drivel.

Yours faithfully,

Hugh Davenport

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From: Hugh Davenport

Dear Wellington City Council,

I would appreciate a response to this LGOIMA please. This is overdue. The response given by Ian Hunter did not actually respond to any of my requests, or give reasons for refusal to do so. I have tried contacting Ian Hunter directly, this main email, and also Cr Gilberd, Cr Lee, and Cr Pannett. So far I have not had any response from any of those people, which is a disappointing result for a public entity such as Wellington City Council. I am sure you are aware of your legal obligations under the LGOIMA act.

Yours faithfully,

Hugh Davenport

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From: Ian Hunter
Wellington City Council

Dear Mr Davenport,

 

Thank you for your email received on 31 July 2019 in which you stated the
Council's response did not answer your questions and that you required a
substantial response by the end of 31 July 2019. Thank you also for your
email received today (6 August 2019) in which you suggest the response is
overdue.

 

Whilst my response gave an overview of the declaration of a 'Climate
Emergency', the information and data you are seeking is contained in the
'Te Atakura - First to Zero' document which is accessible via the link
provided in my email dated 31 July 2019. The document refers to projects
already underway and those proposed for the future. Whilst some data is
available for projects already underway, the Council is unable to provide
data for projects not yet commenced. If the information contained in the
'Te Atakura - First to Zero' document does not provide the information you
are seeking then the Council will endeavour to answer any specific
questions you may have.

 

In addition to the 'Te Atakura - First to zero' document you may also find
the information available via the following links useful:

 

[1]https://wellington.govt.nz/services/envi...

 

[2]https://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/...

 

[3]https://wellington.govt.nz/~/media/your-...

 

[4]https://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/...(2016)

 

Kind regards,

Ian

 

 

Ian Hunter
Assurance Advisor | Complaints and Information Assurance | Governance and
Assurance Directorate | Wellington City Council
P 04 803 8315 | M 021 227 8315 |
E [5][email address] | W [6]Wellington.govt.nz | [7]Facebook|
[8]Twitter

 

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5. mailto:[email address]
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7. https://www.facebook.com/wellingtoncityc...
8. http://twitter.com/wgtncc

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From: Hugh Davenport

Dear Ian Hunter,

Thanks for that. So from your response, the council declared an emergency on 20 June 2019, and published Te Akakura on the same day. Your response says that all the information and data I'm seeking is in that document. As my request was for all actions taken *since* that day, I'm wondering how the document outlines those actions. I'm sure you can see the conundrum here. A document released on 20 June 2019 will not have any details of any actions done *since* 20 June 2019.

So, can you please act lawfully, and release all information that the council has on actions the council has done after 20 June 2019. This information will not be contained in a document released on that day. I would imagine that no such document exists, and the council will have to ask people involved with said projects to gather this information requested. Or, are you implying that no actions have been made since 20 June 2019 and the document is merely responding to my second half of my request of actions for the immediate future? If so, can you please officially refuse the first half of my request so that the public knows that the council has not done any actions since 20 June 2019.

As for the second part of my request, "I would also like to know what steps you have planned for the immediate future, with timelines and action points required.". In Te Akakura, there are no timelines for anything apart from 2050. Can you please provide a timeline of actions the Council is planning on taking in the immediate future, or state that the council treats 2050 as the immediate future. As for not being able to provide any data showing how an action will improve, are you suggesting that the council plans actions without actually seeing if they will improve? If that is the case, can you please officially refuse the request for data on how actions might improve the climate issue.

An example of the information I would expect (which is purely an example, and most likely fictitious):
- 21 June 2019, Council staff start using non fossil fuel vehicles (bikes, scooters, walking etc). This reduced the carbon imprint of the council by X.
- 1-30 Sept 2019, Council plans to add new protected cycle lanes in locations A, B and C. Data shows that protected cycle lanes encourage more motorists to use cycles instead, which could reduce the carbon imprint of the city by X. Vehicle counters in location A show that Y cyclists currently use this area, compared to Z in other areas with protected cycle lanes, suggesting that a protected cycle lane at location A will increase the number of cyclists in location A.

I hope that helps you understand what I'm after. To date, your response has not answered my request (actions done since 20 June 2019 which can't possibly be in a document published on that day, and a timeline of actions for the immediate future. Also data for both showing how it has improved or is likely to improve). Look forward to your response today. This request is still overdue.

Yours sincerely,

Hugh Davenport

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Rich Seager left an annotation ()

Like your work, Hugh.

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From: Hugh Davenport

Dear Wellington City Council,

I'm just chasing up on an overdue LGOIMA request that was assigned to Ian Hunter. My request was about what actions the council has done since declaring a climate emergency on 20 June 2019. Ian's responses so far are saying that all the information I am requesting is in a document released on 20 June 2019. This doesn't quite make sense to me, as how can a document published on the 20th contain any information about actions done *after* the 20th?

I remind the council that this is now well overdue, and a response to my request was due on July 31st 2019. So far all I have had is political drivel and a document that was published before the timeframe I am interested in. It may be beneficial to reassign this request to someone other than Ian Hunter, as it seems as if he may not be capable of properly responding to this request and understanding the legal obligations of the council.

I also note that I have attempted to contact Crs Gilberd, Lee, and Pannett multiple times regarding this request and have had no response from them either.

Yours faithfully,

Hugh Davenport

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Email to Mayor, and Crs Lee, Gilberd, and Pannett.

Hi Mayor Justin,

I'm emailing you due to a lack of response from 3 of your councillors in regards to an overdue LGOIMA request. You can find details of this in the email chain below. The request is still overdue, and I would have expected your councillors with portfolios in that area to be of more assistance. I would also have expected your staff (Ian Hunter in particular) have more of an understanding about the legal responsibilities of the council under the LGOIMA.

Could you please chase up either your LGOIMA team, or these councillors to chase up the team. I am looking for a response to my request which was due 31 July 2019.

Cheers,

Hugh

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From: Hugh Davenport

Dear Ian Hunter,

Just looking for an update on when you are likely to provide the response to this LGOIMA. I note that it is still overdue.

Yours sincerely,

Hugh Davenport

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From: Ian Hunter
Wellington City Council


Hello,

I'm currently away from the office until 12 August 2019.
In my absence, could you please contact the Assurance Team via the following: [email address]

Kind regards
Ian
Complaints and Information Assurance Team.

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Email from Cr Gilberd.

Dear Hugh

I have been seeking further information, in response to your request.

That information will be sent to you when it has been compiled.

Best wishes

My response:

Thank you for your response Councillor. If you can send the response to the FYI address once it is compiled that would be great as others are following this.

I'll be in touch if I don't hear back by end of next week. I would also hope that the council investigate why this was delayed and why the responses so far were mishandled.

Cheers,

Hugh

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Rich Seager left an annotation ()

I had the same promise from the Green Party.

Nothing came of it.

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From: Hugh Davenport

Dear Wellington City Council,

Just a reminder that this request is still overdue. Can I please get a response as required under the LGOIMA. I would also hope that the council investigate why this request was mishandled so badly.

Yours faithfully,

Hugh Davenport

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Email to Mayor, and Crs Lee, Gilberd, and Pannett.

Hi all,

Just a friendly reminder that this lgoima request is still overdue. If I don't hear back by cob today with an explanation of the overdueness and an ETA on when I might expect a full response, or ideally just the full response, then I will be escalating this to your chief executive to investigate why the councils staff and councillors have mishandled this and are in breach of the lgoima.

Cheers,

Hugh

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Email from Mayor, Cc'd Ian Hunter:

Hi Hugh

I’ve cc’d Ian here and also provided a link to Te Atakura, our Zero Carbon Plan: https://www.zerocarboncapital.nz/

Ngā mihi

Justin

My response:

Hi Justin,

Thank you for responding. With all due respect the document you linked to does not have any information about actions done since the declaration or any steps planned for the immediate future. This was what I requested, not a document that I am aware is already online. In regards to the lgoima you have not responded to my request and it is still overdue.
An example of the information I would expect (which is purely an example, and most likely fictitious):
- 21 June 2019, Council staff start using non fossil fuel vehicles (bikes, scooters, walking etc). This reduced the carbon imprint of the council by X.
- 1-30 Sept 2019, Council plans to add new protected cycle lanes in locations A, B and C. Data shows that protected cycle lanes encourage more motorists to use cycles instead, which could reduce the carbon imprint of the city by X. Vehicle counters in location A show that Y cyclists currently use this area, compared to Z in other areas with protected cycle lanes, suggesting that a protected cycle lane at location A will increase the number of cyclists in location A.

I hope that helps you understand what I'm after. To date, your response has not answered my request (actions done since 20 June 2019 which can't possibly be in a document published on that day, and a timeline of actions for the immediate future. Also data for both showing how it has improved or is likely to improve). Look forward to your response today or an indication on when I might receive a response. This request is still overdue.

I would also be interested in a reason why this request was mishandled so badly.

Cheers,

Hugh

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Email to Kevin Lavery (CEO), and Hayley Evans (Director of Legal and Risk), cc'd everyone involved so far.

Hi Kevin and Hayley,

I'm writing to you today in your capacity as the Chief Executive and Director of Legal and Risk of the Wellington City Council.

On July 3 2019, I made a request under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (LGOIMA), which is available to read at https://fyi.org.nz/request/10666-informa.... Under the LGOIMA, the council is required by law to respond as soon as possible and before July 31 2019. This date has passed, and the request is now overdue.

I attempted to contact the original responder Ian Hunter (in Cc) to ensure the request was responded to correctly. He has failed to provide the information I require. I also attempted to contact the main email address for the council (iro@wcc.govt.nz), and got no response. I then attempted to contact Councillors Gilberd, Lee, and Pannett as their portfolios align with the request I made. After no response from them, I then attempted to contact the Mayor Justin Lester. At this point Councillor Gilberd finally replied saying he would ensure the response is collated. After a week of no response, I then attempted to contact all of the above one more time. I got a response from Justin which did not contain the information I requested.

At this point, I am running out of people in a position to respond from the council, hence my email to you as the Chief Executive and Director of Legal and Risk.

The information I wanted was the actions the council has taken since declaring a climate emergency, or have planned to do in the immediate future (with timeframes), as well as data that shows whether those actions made improvements, or will make improvements to the climate change issue. If there are no actions taken since declaring an emergency, or planned for the immediate future, then I requested the reason why the council declared an emergency then did nothing to follow through with that declaration.

I note that the declaration of the climate emergency happened on June 20 2019. The information that Ian Hunter and Justin Lester have provided is a document released on June 20 2019. I'm sure you are aware that a document released on a certain date cannot possibly contain information about actions taken since that date, hence the responses that both Ian Hunter and Justin Lester have provided do not correctly respond to my request for information. If it is the case that the council has not done any actions since the declaration, the correct response under the LGOIMA would be refusing under section 17(g) of that Act. If it is the case that the council does not have any plans for the immediate future, again the correct response under the LGOIMA would be refusing under section 17(g) of that Act. If both of those points are refused in this way, then my request for the reason why the council declared an emergency then did nothing to follow through with that declaration should be responded to under the LGOIMA.

I will look forward to a response from you on Monday August 19 2019 regarding an explanation on why this information request is overdue, why it was mishandled so badly, and when I can expect to get a full response for my request by the council as required by law under the LGOIMA. If no response is made by 5pm on Monday, I will be filing a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman about the councils failure to meet the requirements of the LGOIMA. I am sure you understand the seriousness of this situation, and I hope this can be resolved before wasting the time of the Ombudsman.

Cheers,

Hugh

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A O'Sullivan left an annotation ()

This request is getting some airtime today over at KiwiBlog (General Debate 17 August).

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Email from Linda Vekula (EA to the CEO)

Afternoon

I would like to acknowledge receipt of your email by the CE’s office.

Regards

Linda

Linda Vekula
EA To The Chief Executive | CEO's Office | Wellington City Council

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Email to CEO, Director of Legal & Risk, Mayor, the 3 councillors, and Ian Hunter:

Hi,

Just a reminder that as I have not received a response from the Chief Executive team regarding the failure to follow the responsibilities laid out under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, I will be laying a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman in an hour.

I would have hoped that the council take their legal responsibility with more seriousness, and allow the council to be transparent in the declarations they make. It seems I was too hopeful.

While this case will be investigated further by the Ombudsman, I would urge the council to not waste more public time and just respond to the request.

Cheers,

Hugh

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Complaint laid with the Ombudsman:

Hi,

I made a request to WCC about actions taken since they declared a climate emergency (declaration made June 20 2019), and planned actions since. If no actions had been made or planned, then I requested a reason why the council declared an emergency then did nothing to follow through with it. My request was made on July 3 2019. You can find the request at https://fyi.org.nz/request/10666-informa....

On July 31, Ian Hunter from WCC responded saying that all the information I am requesting is in a document released on June 20 2019, called Te Atakura. I note that this was the last day the council could legally respond by and the information given by Ian Hunter was already public so unsure what caused that delay. I would imagine that the council is not respecting the LGOIMA's requirement to respond "as soon as reasonably practicable" and instead chose the 20 working days as a target, not a deadline.

In regards to the information supplied by Ian Hunter. Obviously, actions taken since a date cannot possibly be in a document released on that date, which I attempted to contact the council in order to let them know this. I contacted Ian Hunter with this, then 3 city councillors (Gilberd, Lee, and Pannett) whos portfolios aligned with the information requested, their main LGOIMA request (iro@wcc.govt.nz). I did not hear back until Aug 6, when Ian Hunter again said that all the information I am requesting is in the document released on the day of the declaration, so cannot possibly contain the actions since the declarations. I replied to Ian Hunter specifying this.

After a few more days of radio silence from the council, I email the current Mayor Justin Lester, as well as the three councillors previously contacted, and again to Ian Hunter and the main LGOIMA email via FYI. I am then informed that Ian Hunter is on leave. I also get a response from Councillor Gilberd saying that the response will be sent to me when it is compiled. At this point the request is overdue by 7 working days.

I wait another week, then email (via FYI) the main LGOIMA email, and also the Mayor and the three councillors. In this email I warn that if I do not hear back from them with an explanation of why it is overdue and when I can expect the information requested then I will escalate with their chief executive.

I get an email from the current Mayor Justin Lester, who simply provides the link to the same document that was released on the same day as the declaration. I respond explaining that it does not contain the information requested and can't possibly given the published date.

On August 16, I email Kevin Lavery (CEO), and Hayley Evans (Director of Legal and Risk) explaining the situation and the effort I have gone to to contact various parties at the council in order to get the information. At this point the request is overdue by 12 working days.

As I have not heard anything back from the chief executive team, I am of the opinion that the Wellington City Council do not respect their legal obligation to provide information requested by the public under the LGOIMA, and as such am laying a complaint with the Office of the Ombudsman.

My complaint against the council includes:
- Delay in responding to the request "as soon as reasonably practicable". It appeared as if they treated the deadline as a target, not as a deadline. This does not align with the spirit of the Act.
- Mishandling of the response. Multiple times they tried to provide incorrect and misleading information, and ignored any further correspondence outlining why the response was incorrect.
- Failure to provide a response. As of August 19, I am still waiting for the information I requested on July 3. This is now overdue 13 working days.

The information I want is actions taken since the declaration along with data showing how it improved the climate, actions planned for the immediate future along with data showing how it is expected to improve the climate. If no actions have been done or are planned for the immediate future, then I want the reason why the council declared an emergency then did nothing to follow through with that declaration.

I also note that there is a large amount of public interest in the outcome of this request. This can be seen with the overall trend of climate awareness, the various comments on news media and on the FYI request.

Cheers,

Hugh

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From: Ian Hunter
Wellington City Council

Dear Mr Davenport,

 

I respond to your email to the Chief Executive and Director of Legal and
Risk on 16 August 2019 about your complaint that a request for information
about the Council’s declaration of a ‘Climate and ecological emergency’ is
overdue.

 

Your original request was emailed to the Assurance team on 3 July 2019 and
I responded on 31 July 2019 as required and within the legislative
timeframes under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings
Act 1987.

 

For your understanding, the Council has up to, but as soon as reasonably
practicable, 20 working days to reach a decision on a request. This is
different than the provision of information, though we often communicate a
decision and provide the information at the same time as in the case of my
response to you on 31 July 2019. I’m sorry if the decision was not clear
enough but I provided you with the information held in respect of what
information I understood was in scope of your request at the time. I also
provided further information on 6 August 2019 which provided additional
information in respect of the steps the Council has been taking to address
its climate concerns.

 

You have now stated that you seek the ‘actions’ the Council has taken
since declaring the emergency on 20 June 2019, or have planned to do in
the immediate future and with timeframes. This also includes seeking the
specific data that shows whether those actions made improvements or will
make improvements to the Climate change issue.

 

I reiterate the neither the declaration or the Te Atakura – First to Zero
Carbon Plan are a programme of works relating to specific projects or
dates and as such the information you are seeking is not held by the
Council. Any upcoming policy or works will be viewed and considered in
association with the Te Atakura – First to Zero Carbon Plan.

 

You will appreciate that from the date of the declaration (20 June 2019)
to the time of your request (3 July 2019), I understood your request to
cover information that related to the broader policy position of the
Council. In the short time period from the declaration to your email to
the Chief Executive seeking actions and timeframes information etc. there
has been no specific action list created or steps undertaken as you have
asked that would meet the requirements of the request. The Council does
not hold this information. As such, this information is refused under
section 17(g) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings
Act 1987.

 

Information about whether any actions have made improvements or will make
improvements on this issue is also not held. As such, this part of your
request is refused under section 17(g) of the Local Government Official
Information and Meetings Act 1987 as the information is not held by the
Council.

 

I’m sorry you consider we have been unable to assist you on this issue.
Again, If you disagree with the decision to refuse this part of your
request, you can apply in writing to the Ombudsman to have the decision
investigated and reviewed under section 27 (3) of the Local Government
Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.

 

Kind regards,

Ian

 

 

Ian Hunter
Assurance Advisor | Complaints and Information Assurance | Governance and
Assurance Directorate | Wellington City Council
P 04 803 8315 | M 021 227 8315 |
E [1][email address] | W [2]Wellington.govt.nz | [3]Facebook|
[4]Twitter

 

References

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From: Hugh Davenport

Dear Ian Hunter,

Thank you finally for the detailed response. I apologise for the confusion caused by me asking for 'steps' as well as 'actions' in my original request. For the record, I had attempted to contact you (July 31, Aug 6, Aug 8, Aug 16, and Aug 19) and many other people regarding this which was what drew me to make a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman. The majority of my replies were not acknowledged or responded to by the council. It took an email to your Chief Executive to gleam any information.

I will update the Office of the Ombudsman that most of the information requested has now been responded to.

In regards to your response, I see that you have refused the first two parts of my request (actions taken so far, and actions planned) under s17(g) of the LGOIMA, which was what I had anticipated. Due to that, the remainder of my request should have been responded to (included below, but part of the original request made on July 3, so deadline is still July 31). Would this information request please be responded to ASAP:

"If no actions have been made or planned to date, I would like to request the reason why the council declared an emergency then did nothing to follow through with that declaration."

Yours sincerely,

Hugh Davenport

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Update to the Ombudsman:

Hi,

I got an update on my request today from Wellington City Council (viewable at https://fyi.org.nz/request/10666-informa...). Ian Hunter has provided a response under s17(g) of the LGOIMA for the first two parts of my request.

This was anticipated during my original request, so I had as part of my original request for "the reason why the council declared an emergency then did nothing to follow through with that declaration."

The council is still to provide this part of my request.

I would like to this complaint with the Office to remain open regarding:
- Delay in responding to the request "as soon as reasonably practicable". It appeared as if they treated the deadline as a target, not as a deadline. This does not align with the spirit of the Act.
*** I note that Ian Hunter has alleged that he responded within this timeframe given his understanding of the scope of my request. However, he failed to respond to the numerous followups stating that he made the incorrect assumption about the scope. The scope of the original request has not changed.
- Mishandling of the response. Multiple times they tried to provide incorrect and misleading information, and ignored any further correspondence outlining why the response was incorrect.
- Failure to provide a response. As of August 19, I am still waiting for the remainder of the information I requested on July 3. This is now overdue 14 working days.

Cheers,

Hugh

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

An example of a good response from Queenstown-Lakes District Council, both timely and informative on actual plans in the short term (ie, within the next few years, not just within the next few decades).

https://fyi.org.nz/request/11030-informa...

I'm hopeful that other councils are acting similar, and our lovely capital is the only one lagging behind.

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Another good example of how councils will act from Hawkes Bay Regional Council. Extremely quick response. Outlines efforts made so far.

https://fyi.org.nz/request/11029-informa...

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Another example of a council actually following through. This time from Auckland Council.

https://fyi.org.nz/request/11014-informa...

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Yet another council who seems capable of making actions. From Hutt City Council.
https://fyi.org.nz/request/11011-informa...

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From: Ian Hunter
Wellington City Council

Dear Mr Davenport,

 

Further to your email dated 20 August 2019, in which you stated that “if
no actions have been made or planned to date, I would like to request the
reason why the Council declared an emergency then did nothing to follow
through with that declaration”. As outlined in my email of the same date,
the declaration of a climate emergency was not linked to any programme of
works with specific action dates as you’ve asked. The declaration was the
Council’s high level commitment to applying measures relating to the
protection of the environment and climate change when making decisions.

 

The Council does not accept your assertion that nothing has been done
since declaring an emergency and therefore I am unable to provide you with
a ‘reason’ as you request. While I acknowledge you may hold a different
view as to progress on this matter, the absence of a specific action list
does not negate the information provided to you which is how this Council
has chosen to respond to the emergency.  

 

I reiterate, The Te Atakura – First to Zero plan is a blueprint to be
applied to projects going forward. The Council’s commitment to reducing
carbon emissions can be seen in projects such as the Council’s;

 

o Support for the uptake of active travel modes (funding for cycle
lanes)
o Support for the uptake of public transport (bus lanes and bus priority
measures)
o Introduction of public EV charging stations in the city to encourage a
move to EV’s
o Support for ‘Warm up Wellington’ (supporting low income families to
make homes more efficient)
o The employment of an Energy Manager to reduce WCC emissions (from WCC
facilities)

 

With respect to the present and future projects the Council is engaged in:

 

o Let’s get Wellington Moving ($6.4B investment to move more people with
fewer cars)
o New Spatial Plan/District Plan (encouraging compact urban form which
reduces the carbon profile  over cities with urban sprawl)
o Reviewing carbon reduction initiatives as part of the next Long Term
Plan

 

I hope this clarifies your remaining question.

 

Kind regards,

Ian

 

 

Ian Hunter
Assurance Advisor | Complaints and Information Assurance | Governance and
Assurance Directorate | Wellington City Council
P 04 803 8315 | M 021 227 8315 |
E [1][email address] | W [2]Wellington.govt.nz | [3]Facebook|
[4]Twitter

 

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From: Hugh Davenport

Dear Ian Hunter,

With all due respect, if the council can't provide evidence of actions taken so far, or anything planned for the immediate future, then the council has not done anything apart from declare an emergency with no follow through. This should be obvious to anyone. If you are now saying that the council is infact doing things towards the climate emergency that are shown by actions done, or planned actions for the immediate future, then please amend your response to show this.

For a bit of context, I've asked the same question to multiple other councils around New Zealand that declared a climate emergency around the same time. Here are some of the responses that show actual actions done, and actual actions planned for the immediate future:
- Queenstown Lakes District Council (https://fyi.org.nz/request/11030-informa...)
- Hawkes Bay Regional Council (https://fyi.org.nz/request/11029-informa...)
- Auckland Council (https://fyi.org.nz/request/11014-informa...)
- Hutt City Council (https://fyi.org.nz/request/11011-informa...)

So, if Wellington City Council is actually doing something since declaring an emergency, then please amend your response to list the actions you have done since, and actions you have planned for the immediate future. Currently you have responded as information doesn't exist, which leads me to believe that the council is not doing anything. Given that, the final clause of my request still stands, and I am still waiting for a response. I would like to request the reason why the Council declared an emergency then did nothing to follow through with that declaration.

Yours sincerely,

Hugh Davenport

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Christchurch City Council also doing things. https://fyi.org.nz/request/11015-informa...

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Somewhat alright response from Porirua City Council (https://fyi.org.nz/request/11012-informa...)

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Another good response from Cantebury Regional Council
https://fyi.org.nz/request/11028-informa...

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Lack of response from Dunedin City Council (https://fyi.org.nz/request/11027-informa...)

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Response from Dunedin City Council: https://fyi.org.nz/request/11027-informa...

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Response from Dunedin City Council: https://fyi.org.nz/request/11016-informa...

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Response from Nelson City Council: https://fyi.org.nz/request/11016-informa...

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Hugh Davenport left an annotation ()

Response from Kapiti Coast District Council: https://fyi.org.nz/request/11013-informa...

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From: Ian Hunter
Wellington City Council

Dear Mr Davenport,

 

Further to your email received on 4 September 2019 in which you again
requested "...the reason why the Council declared an emergency then did
nothing to follow through with the declaration", I can only reiterate my
earlier response in which you were advised that the declaration was the
Council's high level commitment to applying measures relating to the
protection of the environment and climate change when making decisions.
Neither the Declaration or the First to Zero Carbon Plan were a schedule
of actions or projects. However, as you were also advised, the ‘Let’s Get
Wellington Moving’ and ‘Planning for Growth’ projects are focussed on
building a low carbon future in Wellington.

 

As such, the Council does not agree with your statements and considers
your initial request has been answered in full.

 

Should you disagree with the Council's response you may wish to raise your
concerns with the Office of the Ombudsman.

 

Kind regards,

Ian

 

Ian Hunter
Assurance Advisor | Complaints and Information Assurance | Governance and
Assurance Directorate | Wellington City Council
P 04 803 8315 | M 021 227 8315 |
E [1][email address] | W [2]Wellington.govt.nz | [3]Facebook|
[4]Twitter

 

From: Hugh Davenport
[[5]mailto:[FOI #10666 email]]

Sent: Wednesday, 4 September 2019 9:56 AM

To: Ian Hunter

Subject: Re: Further question in respect of the declaration of a climate
emergency

 

Dear Ian Hunter,

 

With all due respect, if the council can't provide evidence of actions
taken so far, or anything planned for the immediate future, then the
council has not done anything apart from declare an emergency with no
follow through. This should be obvious to anyone. If you are now saying
that the council is infact doing things towards the climate emergency that
are shown by actions done, or planned actions for the immediate future,
then please amend your response to show this.

 

For a bit of context, I've asked the same question to multiple other
councils around New Zealand that declared a climate emergency around the
same time. Here are some of the responses that show actual actions done,
and actual actions planned for the immediate future:

- Queenstown Lakes District Council
([6]https://fyi.org.nz/request/11030-informa...)

- Hawkes Bay Regional Council
([7]https://fyi.org.nz/request/11029-informa...)

- Auckland Council
([8]https://fyi.org.nz/request/11014-informa...)

- Hutt City Council
([9]https://fyi.org.nz/request/11011-informa...)

 

So, if Wellington City Council is actually doing something since declaring
an emergency, then please amend your response to list the actions you have
done since, and actions you have planned for the immediate future.
Currently you have responded as information doesn't exist, which leads me
to believe that the council is not doing anything. Given that, the final
clause of my request still stands, and I am still waiting for a response.
I would like to request the reason why the Council declared an emergency
then did nothing to follow through with that declaration.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Hugh Davenport

 

 

 

Ian Hunter
Assurance Advisor | Complaints and Information Assurance | Governance and
Assurance Directorate | Wellington City Council
P 04 803 8315 | M 021 227 8315 |
E [10][email address] | W [11]Wellington.govt.nz | [12]Facebook|
[13]Twitter

 

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
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