Wellington region to band together to tackle climate change
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".
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"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, Kāpiti 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 other key issues which 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."
Porirua Mayor Mike Tana was also behind the move.
"I totally support it. It's about being proactive and understanding that we work as a region.
"This just has to be it. It's a no-brainer."
The regional approach would also allow various councils to share and develop ideas, Tana said.
The regional council's environment committee will vote on the proposal on Wednesday.