Green Party activists have been meeting voters in the Rosetta ward.
Issues discussed on the doorsteps included the impact of spending cuts on public services, the job creation potential of a Green New Deal, problems experienced during recent cold weather and transparency in politics.
Clare Bailey, Green candidate for Belfast South and Lagan Bank, said: “It is encouraging to learn that large numbers of voters in Rosetta share a great many of the Green Party’s concerns. Awareness is growing among the electorate that although concern for the environment remains at the heart of Green politics, we are also the only party offering new thinking in a range of other policy areas.
“We hope South Belfast and Lagan Bank residents with concerns about the impact of spending cuts on health and other essential public services and who want to see investment in water infrastructure to avoid a repeat of this winter’s fiasco and a sustainable future for the Northern Ireland economy will consider voting Green on 5 May.”
Issues raised by Rosetta residents and what the Greens are doing:
Issue: Lack of grit boxes putting residents with mobility issues at risk and causing delivery vehicles to get stuck during cold weather.
What the Greens are doing: Green Party councillor Cadogan Enright has been warning since mid-December – weeks before the Christmas and New Year cold snap – that Northern Ireland needs a cold weather contingency plan. Clare Bailey is contacting Roads Service to enquire about the possibility of grit boxes being provided in the Rosetta streets affected.
Issue: Water cut-offs in Christmas and New Year period.
What the Greens are doing: The Green Party will ensure the necessary investment is made to increase the resilience of water infrastructure to cold weather and put early warning systems in place to ensure reservoirs are never again allowed to empty unnoticed.
Issue: Cost of heating due to lack of insulation in houses.
What the Greens are doing: The Green Party put the Green New Deal on the political agenda and continues to campaign for investment in energy efficiency improvements to Northern Ireland’s housing stock, creating thousands of jobs, saving householders hundreds of pounds every year in heating costs, reducing fuel poverty and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Issue: Surprise that transparency rules around political party funding in Great Britain do not apply in Northern Ireland.
What the Greens are doing: The Green Party is campaigning for a ban on corporate donations to political parties and the naming of all parties’ major donors. The Greens are the only party to go into the 2011 elections with a commitment to identify anyone who has donated £500 or more to the party.
Issue: Concern about impact of spending cuts on health service staffing.
What the Greens are doing: The Green Party does not accept that the level of public spending cuts ordered by the Conservative-led government is desirable or necessary. In particular, essential services like health, on which the most vulnerable members of society depend, must be defended.
Issue: Speed of vehicles in residential streets.
What the Greens are doing: South Belfast Greens’ ’20 is plenty’ campaign calls for a reduction of the speed limit in residential areas to 20mph to ensure people, not cars, come first in residential streets.
Issue: Large apartment developments being crammed onto sites previously occupied by single detached houses.
What the Greens are doing: Green Party MLA Brian Wilson has spoken out against planning decisions that amount to “vandalism” of the built environment in the Assembly and increase the risk of flooding by concreting over green space.
Issue: Concern about supermarkets’ food sourcing policies.
What the Greens are doing: The Green Party has consistently called for agricultural policies that support local producers and reduce food miles.
Issue: Concern about destruction of peat bogs.
What the Greens are doing: The Greens have campaigned for the establishment of an independent Environment Protection Agency that would hold government, business and individuals to account for environmentally destructive policies and activities.