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Our Region’s Green Mindset Shines Through As A Top Priority In The Long Term Plan

Environmental protection and enhancement, accessible and efficient public transport, and action on the climate emergency – have been ranked by our community as Greater Wellington’s top priorities, reports a survey on Greater Wellington Regional Council’s 2021-2031 Long Term Plan.

As part of pre-engagement on the Long Term Plan, which is Greater Wellington’s roadmap of activities over the next decade, the people of our rohe (region) were asked what they see as important for the regional council to focus on over the next ten years.

The community provided feedback on the strategic priorities that council developed to guide the development of our 2021-31 Long Term Plan.

Over the course of the engagement period, 182,469 people were reached and 1,086 responses were received through online submissions.

Greater Wellington Chair Daran Ponter says, “Our region has a strong environmental stance, and this was captured in our pre-engagement results with over 60 percent rating ‘Responding to the climate emergency’ as extremely important,” says Greater Wellington chair Daran Ponter.

“The vast majority of respondents to the survey acknowledge the climate crisis is a real and important issue that we all need to work towards solving.

“Our community recognise climate change is a complex challenge. They want to see our region prioritising the health of our environment and improving public transport to help reduce the number of vehicles on the road, which will help mitigate our climate change emergency.”

Analysis of pre-engagement results on ‘Responding to the climate emergency’ distil down to four key themes.

“Essentially, the sentiment is that the community feels climate change action needs to be integrated into all decisions before it’s too late, as we’re already facing the brunt of its negative effects, something we are already doing at Greater Wellington” says Cr Ponter.

“They also want more and clearer information about Greater Wellington’s role in combating the climate crisis – specifically how we build the region’s resilience, prepare for natural disasters and reduce our carbon emissions.”

However, it was clear from public feedback that fighting climate change cannot be left to local government and that it needed to be led by central government.

“We agree that government is essential in doing the heavy lifting on the big decisions which need to be made on climate change, with local government operating at the sharp end in communities. We fully support the Government’s recent decision to declare a climate emergency and look forward to working with it to get to carbon positive as soon as possible.”

Cr Ponter says the council is aware of the community’s big expectations for action against climate change and the role council plays as a front-line agency in sustainable environmental management and responding to the climate emergency.

“These expectations and other cost pressures are likely to lead to an average rates increase of over 13 percent for 2021/22,” says Cr Ponter.

The community’s views will be sought on the elements that make up these increases, with the opportunity to indicate what priorities should sit at the top of the list.

The public consultation on the 2021-31 Long Term Plan is expected in March next year, register at https://haveyoursay.gw.govt.nz/ to find out more about how you can have your say.

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