Re­gional cli­mate change re­sponse

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - DAMIAN GEORGE

Welling­ton’s lo­cal coun­cils are band­ing to­gether to fight cli­mate change fol­low­ing a re­port warn­ing of se­vere droughts and ris­ing tem­per­a­tures by the end of the cen­tury.

The Na­tional In­sti­tute of Wa­ter and At­mo­spheric Re­search (Niwa) re­port, re­leased last month, warned Wairarapa could be plagued by droughts and Welling­ton could be as hot as Syd­ney by 2090 if green­house gas emis­sions did not re­duce.

The changes would put a strain on wa­ter sup­ply, put coastal com­mu­ni­ties at risk due to sea level rise, and limit pas­ture pro­duc­tion and crop growth. Greater Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil en­vi­ron­ment com­mit­tee chair­woman Sue Ked­g­ley said es­tab­lish­ing a re­gion-wide work­ing group would help give Welling­ton more ‘‘po­lit­i­cal clout’’.

‘‘The Niwa re­port shows there is go­ing to be quite sig­nif­i­cant and, in some cases, quite se­vere im­pacts of cli­mate change in the re­gion.

‘‘We need to start tak­ing some col­lec­tive ac­tion.’’

The pro­posed Welling­ton re­gion cli­mate change work­ing group would be made up of the re­gion’s nine ter­ri­to­rial au­thor­i­ties, com­pris­ing Welling­ton city, Hutt City, Up­per Hutt, Porirua, Ka¯piti and the three Wairarapa coun­cils.

It would take pres­sure off coun­cils to tackle con­tentious is­sues alone, en­able shar­ing of ideas, and form a stronger base from which to lobby the Gov­ern­ment, the re­gional coun­cil said.

Ked­g­ley said among is­sues that would be ad­dressed were the num­ber of charg­ing sta­tions for elec­tric ve­hi­cles, which Welling­ton was be­ing ‘‘left be­hind on’’ com­pared with other cities.

Up­per Hutt City Mayor Wayne Guppy said he sup­ported the idea, and other lead­ers at a re­cent may­ors’ fo­rum also ap­peared to be be­hind it.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant we take a re­gional ap­proach to these key is­sues.

‘‘It’s such a big and, for some, daunt­ing prospect. It just makes sense for us to at­tack it on a re­gional ba­sis.’’

The re­gional coun­cil’s en­vi­ron­ment com­mit­tee was to vote on the pro­posal on Wed­nes­day.

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