Wellington Scoop

Regional council wants climate emergency partnership with government

News from Greater Wellington Regional Council
The Regional Council strongly supports the Government’s declaration of a climate emergency and welcomes its foresight in acknowledging the greatest challenge to face the nation.

“The declaration sends the strongest signal that the Government is serious about turning the tide of climate change, and we welcome it and the Government’s pledge to achieve state sector carbon neutrality by 2025” says the council’s climate committee chair Cr Thomas Nash.

“We support the Government’s approach to developing a climate change action plan over the next three years and there’s plenty it can do right now too.

While not noted in the declaration, it provides a” real opportunity to build stronger and more supportive partnerships with local government on climate change. Councils and the communities we serve are at the sharp end of the changes we are going to see to our climate and the responses we will need to put in place.”

Cr Nash says that Greater Wellington will work with the Government on policies that use local government’s unique position to make a real difference.

“We want central government to establish a national climate change adaptation fund and to develop clear hazard risk management guidance. This will enable local authorities to take action to deal with the impacts of climate change we know are coming.”

Natural infrastructure projects such as restoration of native forests and wetlands for drought and flood protection and carbon sequestration, which Greater Wellington has prioritised through its Low Carbon Acceleration Fund, should be scaled up now with support from government funding.

“Acceleration of funding to support decarbonisation of the public transport fleet through electrification of bus and rail should be a priority and relatively straightforward to achieve.

“We therefore want to work with the Government on procuring new battery-electric trains and expanding regional rail.

“We’re also committed to purchasing a further 98 electric buses which will boost our e-buses to 21 per cent of the Metlink fleet, but with support we can move quicker.

“This is what the public wants, and quick decisions will hasten uptake of public transport options and replace private vehicle use. National level procurement of electric buses should be on the agenda now.

Last year Greater Wellington declared a climate emergency and set a target with the objective of taking the council’s operation to carbon positivity by 2035. It also set time two ten-point action plans that supplement our 2015 Climate Change Strategy.

To ensure climate action is at the core of its work, Greater Wellington also established a Climate Committee.

“We are actively tracking greenhouse gas emissions both for us as an organisation and those in the wider region. We’ve identified potential emissions budgets and emissions reduction pathways to becoming climate positive as a council by 2035.

“These will require significant investment decisions which will carry affordability issues for Greater Wellington. We hope the Government’s declaration will sharpen its focus on supporting local government as an agent for positive action,” says Cr Nash.

Greater Wellington also convenes the Wellington Region Climate Change Working Group, which is essential to regional governance and coordinated collaborative action. It partners with councils and mana whenua throughout the region and provides essential and robust scientific and technical support at a regional level.

“We support our partners in their community efforts by bringing climate science, natural hazard and adaptation expertise to their work. The local government sector is a willing and vital partner in the struggle to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.”

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
Original url


  1. Michael Gibson, 2. December 2020, 20:50

    No chance that the Government would want to go into partnership with the Wellington City Council after its decision on November 11th to sell low-lying coastal land at Shelly Bay.

  2. TrevorH, 2. December 2020, 20:53

    The Paris Agreement says we must stick with within 1.5 degrees Celsius of “pre industrial” levels. When were these pre industrial levels recorded?

  3. michael, 2. December 2020, 21:50

    How ironic that, after terminating our eco-friendly trolley buses and saddling us with discarded polluting Auckland buses, GWRC has the barefacedness to suggest the government should accelerate funding “to support decarbonisation of the public transport fleet through electrification of bus and rail” and it “should be a priority and relatively straightforward to achieve”. Really?

  4. John Rankin, 3. December 2020, 9:02

    @TrevorH: there are many peer-reviewed scientific papers answering this question. Do you know how to use a search engine? In case you don’t, you could start here.

  5. TrevorH, 3. December 2020, 10:09

    @John Rankin: thanks for the references. Using the 18th century as a baseline is problematic as it lies within the abnormally cold Little Ice Age which is widely considered to have ended in the late 19th/early 20th century. Trying to reverse engineer a baseline construct by discounting perceived anthropogenic influences rather begs the question in terms of logic. This is probably why there is no agreed definition in the Paris Agreement.

  6. Keith Flinders, 3. December 2020, 11:12

    Cr Nash: “We’re also committed to purchasing a further 98 electric buses which will boost our e-buses to 21 per cent of the Metlink fleet, but with support we can move quicker.” Are these the same 98 Cr Ponter promised us early this year, or are they in addition to them? Many believed that the 98 announced were to be ordered or had been back then. Is this yet more obfuscation from the GWRC?

    I’s darn disgraceful that over three years on from the axing of the 59 trolley buses we have only 10 battery ones in operation and yet see more ex Auckland old diesels being added.

  7. Toni, 3. December 2020, 11:27

    The GWRC has shown it is not up to the job it has been tasked with and it is time we had some professionals taking over. How long are we supposed to wait to see “Welly get moving”? We are fast becoming the laughing stock of the country and I assume a complete frustration to the government. Where are our local MPs in all of this? Time to stand up and do something for us now!

  8. Andrew, 3. December 2020, 11:41

    The old Auckland bus with the ironic advert on the rear, something along the lines of ‘I’m going to be replaced soon’. Replaced with another ex Auckland bus?

  9. DaveO, 3. December 2020, 11:58

    @TrevorH i see you are using climate change denier tactics and misinformation .

  10. TrevorH, 3. December 2020, 12:52

    @ John Rankin: the paper you have helpfully appended from the Journals of the American Meteorological Society certainly offers food for thought. It concludes by recommending the UNFCCC consider using the period 1986-2005 as the baseline for measuring temperature changes arising from climate change because:

    “Given the uncertainty in defining the temperature change since preindustrial, such a framing would allow a more precise assessment of when such levels might be reached in the future, given our much improved recent observational coverage and availability of atmospheric reanalyses for the modern period (e.g., Dee et al. 2011; Simmons et al. 2016). It would also remove the need to precisely assess inherently uncertain changes since the preindustrial period.”

    I think this is a good proposal. It is important to have an agreed baseline among scientists and policy-makers. Otherwise we are left with trying to measure “how long is a piece of string”.

  11. Thomas Nash, 3. December 2020, 12:58

    Councils will be at the sharp end of implementing the government’s climate declaration. With the right financial and legislative support from central government we will absolutely make it happen. [via twitter]

  12. Dave B, 3. December 2020, 17:06

    Auckland’s CBD has an optimism that is unlike anything I have seen in my 35 years in NZ. I put it down to the construction of the city rail link which will revolutionise public transport travel, drag Auckland’s PT system into the 21st century and make a real difference to de-carbonising .
    It was former Mayor Len Brown who fought tooth and nail to get this project moving.

    Wellington is long overdue for the same sort of development but we lack a politician with the vision and tenacity of Len Brown to get things moving here. Perhaps Len would consider standing for Mayor of Wellington and repeating his act for us. As things stand, Wellington has no initiatives in sight to make a significant reduction in carbon emissions and most of its policies in recent years have worsened them.