Region’s chair and mayors support working together on climate change

The Waikato Mayoral Forum has thrown its support behind the region’s councils working together on climate change.

The decision was made during the final meeting of the forum for this triennium and followed a report on climate change action in the Waikato region.

Waikato Regional Council and forum chair Alan Livingston said, “Climate change is a real issue with real impacts for our communities, so working together on actions makes good sense. That’s why the proposal was unanimously supported in principle.

“Forum members also noted the opportunity to have their district’s carbon footprint calculated as part of updating the existing Waikato greenhouse gas inventory, and indicated support for contributing to the cost for this work,” Cr Livingston said.

Hazard assessments indicate that over the next century the Waikato region can expect sea levels to continue rising and more extreme weather causing river and coastal flooding, droughts and severe coastal erosion.

A report to the forum from Waikato Regional Council chief executive Vaughan Payne said Waikato councils are at the “forefront of managing risk to New Zealand’s natural and built environment through mitigation and adaptation actions”.

“However, councils cannot address these issues by themselves. All parts of society, a diverse range of actions and policy approaches are required to effectively manage the risks climate change presents.”

With respect to mitigation, Mr Payne said councils can play an important role by working with communities to reduce emissions.

While all Waikato councils are factoring climate change into policy, regulatory, operational and corporate support areas, he said it was important to work together with all Waikato sectors to adopt an agreed climate change action roadmap.

The roadmap would step through current and planned regional activities as part of New Zealand’s transition to net carbon zero by 2050.

The forum heard that work was underway to organise a Waikato climate action summit being held on Saturday, 21 September, supported by the Waikato Plan Leadership Group and Waikato Regional Council.

The summit will bring the community together to hear from speakers on climate change issues globally, nationally and locally, as well as to talk about current local actions and to agree on achievable collective action to inform the Waikato Climate Action Roadmap.

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