Auckland mayoral candidate Vic Crone: climate comment 'storm in a teacup'
An Auckland mayoral candidate has clarified a comment she made about whether humans are to blame for climate change, saying it was "misconstrued".
During an interview, Auckland mayoral candidate Vic Crone would not say if she believed the earth was warming due to man-made pollution.
"Gosh, that's a very contentious debate," she said.
"Of course you've got erosion right across Auckland ... whether you then say that's because of humans or it's actually a cycle – I'm not going to kind of get drawn into that debate."
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The comment was roundly criticised on Wednesday, including from a climate scientist.
Crone appeared on the Paul Henry show this morning, saying the comment had been misconstrued and reaction to it was a "storm in a teacup".
She said it had been made in the context of Auckland, and how Aucklanders find the issue contentious.
Asked directly by Henry if she believed humans had a role to play in rising temperatures she said: "I do think that the Earth is warming and that humans are contributing to that and the debate around it among Aucklanders is contentious".
That got the big tick from Henry, who said "I'm pretty much on your side.
"I believe that you're right, and I watched the interview and what you said to me seemed perfectly fine."
Crone, who is currently Auckland's second-highest polling mayoral candidate, said in her original interview it was clear that there were areas of the region where the environment was changing.
"Council will need to keep on top of that and be designing communities and services with that in mind, absolutely."
SCIENTIST: 'A REAL LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OF THE AREA'
Dr James Renwick, a professor of physical geography at Victoria University of Wellington, had slammed Crone's original statement.
"The climate is changing and it is due to human activity and that is very clear from all sorts of lines of evidence," he said.
"To say that it's very contentious suggests a real lack of understanding of the area."
The evidence showed that human influence was the dominant cause of global warming, Renwick said.
"To try and say that we're not sure is very backward thinking."
GOFF: STATEMENT 'HARD TO UNDERSTAND'
Fellow Auckland mayoral candidate Phil Goff said it was "very hard to understand" why Crone had made the statement.
"I can only assume, giving her the benefit of the doubt, that it was a mistake," he said.
"The overwhelming evidence is that climate change is influenced by human activity.
"There might be one or two people in politics who don't believe that there is [human-induced] climate change, but they are fringe elements and I don't understand why [Crone] would want to align herself with them."
John Palino, who is currently third in the mayoral polls, said he believed that human activity was the main cause of climate change.
"That's a personal view, that's not a scientific vew," he said.
"There are so many debates back and forth on whether it is or whether it isn't. None of us can really give you a scientific explanation or an answer."