in GroenLinks Zwolle

First theme debate: Russian Gas, Coffeeshop supply chains and using technology for more efficiency in the social domain

My first real debate on behalf of GroenLinks in the city council of Zwolle was a theme debate on municipal services and resident engagement. Together with my colleague Marloes we divided the subjects. I was responsible for the following subjects (in Dutch):

  • Toezichtbeeld 2021 – Interbestuurlijk toezicht
  • Lopend contract en nieuw contract gaslevering aan gemeente Zwolle
  • Mogelijkheid tonen interesse aan deelname experiment gesloten coffeeshopketen.
  • Deelname City deal ‘Slim Maatwerk’

Since talk time was limited to six minutes per political party, off course choices had to made on what to talk about. You can watch the debate (in Dutch) below, or read my statement (in English) below the video feed.

Context:

  • Toezichtbeeld 2021 – Interbestuurlijk toezicht: This is a yearly report from the province of Overijssel. They monitor the way municipal governments runs things within the province on certain topics. Zwolle scored an all green with some feedback on certain points.
  • Lopend contract en nieuw contract gaslevering aan gemeente Zwolle: Because of sanctions imposed (in Dutch) by the European government all contracts with Russian party’s need to be dissolved by 10th of October of this year(including the municipal gas contact). This causes a number of problems discussed in the document.
  • Mogelijkheid tonen interesse aan deelname experiment gesloten coffeeshopketen: Zwolle will not participate in an experiment by the national government with legal supply of weed to coffeeshops. This is because there is little support for the experiment among the owners of the coffeeshops in Zwolle, because of how the experiment was designed.
  • Deelname City deal ‘Slim Maatwerk’: Our municipality will participate in a project concerning technology within the social domain called the City deal ‘Slim Maatwerk’ .

Statement:

Thank you chairperson, I have also drawn from the various topics at hand and selected matters that GroenLinks would like to bring to your attention.

First, the new and ongoing gas contract. Unfortunately, there is still a terrible war going on on our continent and that has consequences here as well. The process described in the memo is clear and the considerations made are, in our opinion, logical. Can the alderman inform us as soon as there is clarity about financial compensation from the state for the legal proceedings and indemnification of Gazprom energy Ltd if we were to end the contract as described. Can the alderman also investigate if during the next tender for gas and electricity more weight can be given to the criteria “sustainability of the energy supplier”? The Consumentenbond study in collaboration with Natuur en Milieu may offer some guidance for shaping the tendering criteria. Our current gas supplier Gazprom scored a 2.7 while our electricity supplier Greenchoice scores a 8.3, which shows there is room for improvement.

Second, the experiment with closed supply chain for coffee shops. As you may know, GroenLinks Zwolle is in favor of legalization of various soft drugs. Although this experiment would be a step in the right direction in terms of legalization, we can follow the reasoning for not participating. In the near future, I will talk with the coffee shop owners about what the ideal experiment should look like. Perhaps the information gained from these discussions can be included in the response we will send to the national government about this experiment.

Finally, participation in the city deal Smart customization. Technology can make life so much better. At work I can walk to an empty spot because desks are equipped with sensors that report presence. Technology also offers opportunities in the social domain. People can live independently at home for longer or care providers can offer the right help earlier.

But what the “optimal use of digital resources” or the “earlier identification of problems” or “data exchange between care providers” exactly entails is not yet clear. In the social domain, as a government, we are dealing with vulnerable people, people who should not simply be taken into a government digital testing ground without very careful consideration. Groenlinks will therefore follow this project with healthy dose of critical interest. I am curious whether the alderman intends to involve the recently established ethics committee in the solutions devised?

What will happen because we participated:

  • The newly founded ethics committee will be actively asked to advise on the implementation of the Citydeal Slim Maatwerk.
  • The council will receive the letter sent to the ministry regarding participation in the closed coffee shop chain experiment.

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