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Climate plan approved

A climate change strike in Masterton’s town square. PHOTO/FILE

A 76-point plan to tackle climate change has been given the tick by Masterton District Council.

But it did not receive unanimous support from elected members.

Councillors Tina Nixon and David Holmes voted against the adoption of the Climate Change Action Plan last week.

Nixon said a greater emphasis on water was needed and that it appeared Masterton District Council was “trying to do the work of Greater Wellington Regional Council on a lot of issues”.

She said the plan had to be “more practical and reality-based”.

“I’m sorry but I can’t support this in its current form.”

Holmes said he could also not support the plan as it was.

He said the plan was “very aspirational” but would come at a “huge cost” to fully implement.

“My major concern is who is going to fund it all, and obviously it will be the ratepayer.

“I agree with the process but can’t support the plan as it is.”

The 76 points in the council’s Climate Change Action Plan all fall under four themes: community empowerment, “20-minute town”, circular economy, and a climate resilient district.

They include initiatives to establish a climate change community fund that community groups can access, to investigate a biochar proposal for land at the Homebush Wastewater Treatment Plant, and investigate the installation of renewable energy infrastructure on appropriate council buildings.

Many of the 76 points required business cases for funding and could be developed as part of the next Long-Term Plan.

Councillor Frazer Mailman echoed Holmes’ concerns about the financial impact on ratepayers but said there would be funding opportunities to give effect to the strategy without cost to the ratepayer.

He hoped it would not be “another strategy with no teeth that lies on the shelf”.

He also gave staff credit for the work they had done and thanked fellow councillor Chris Peterson for his persistence in keeping climate change at the forefront of council thinking in his time as an elected member.

Masterton District Council chief executive David Hopman said climate change was already “significantly impacting our community, and we take that seriously. This Climate Action Plan sets out the council’s roadmap to reduce emissions and their impacts as a district and be ready for what will follow.”

He said the council would work hard to make sure the plan was in synergy with mana whenua climate and environmental priorities and aspirations.

The strategy document said Masterton was experiencing more severe droughts, abnormally high rainfall events causing flooding, and coastal erosion.

“Climate impacts will only get worse with continued inaction, so it is in all our best interests to act now,” the document stated. – NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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