My Climate Action Scorecard

In the 2019 local election, I campaigned on a platform of Waikato Regional Council (WRC) taking strong action to tackle the climate crisis.  Substantial progress has been made by WRC but more ambitious action is still required. Here is what I have helped achieve as Deputy Chair of the Climate Action Committee: –

  • 45% reduction in Waikato Regional Council’s emissions resulting in lower operating costs for ratepayers
  • in the last few days successfully advocated that WRC begin working on a new policy in the Regional Policy Statement to reduce the region’s emissions, and set targets to contribute to a halving of the region’s emissions by 2030
  • keeping WRC climate-focused with a climate action committee, a climate action roadmap and a decision-making framework
  • greatly expanded public bus services in Thames-Coromandel close to fruition
  • a bold plan to make Waikato public transport carbon emissions neutral by mid-decade, with greater emphasis on services within and between small towns
  • ending WRC investment in fossil fuels
  • WRC developed a region-wide climate risk assessment which identified 231 direct risks and 55 indirect risks.  This work will assist district councils and stakeholders as they develop their own climate adaptation plans and policies
  • advocating for and obtaining unanimous councillor support for a low-interest loan scheme for homeowners to install solar panels, heat pumps, insulation etc to lower energy use and emissions – now WRC’s flagship policy
  • calling out WRC’s Regional Land Transport Plan as a disgrace because of the lack of investment in walking, cycling and public transport.  My activism led to the formation of a specific transport emission reduction working group of councillors from around the region to recommend transport emission reduction actions.
  • setting up and co-leading a group of councillors from around the region to get more EV charging stations
  • work on the Waikato region’s third Greenhouse Gas Inventory, in partnership with territorial authorities. For the first time, it will include estimates of greenhouse gas losses from drained peat soils.
  • acting as a “squeaky wheel” to ensure the council electrifies its own corporate fleet and the public bus fleet as soon as possible
  • installing solar panels on council buildings, gaining significant savings for ratepayers
  • holding Thames Coromandel District Council to account in 2018 that it must consider land subsidence on the foreshore at Thames when assessing coastal flooding risk, but being ignored.  My position was then vindicated by the New Zealand Sea Rise report in 2022 which said subsidence at Thames could triple the rate of sea level rise and bring forward damaging impacts by several decades.
  • create a climate knowledge hub for both internal use and external use to increase the access of staff, community and stakeholders to relevant evidence, information, tools and guidance on climate change in the Waikato.
  • update of Farm Environment Plan templates and guidance to address climate and biodiversity co-benefits
  • review of farmland planting guidance for climate co-benefits
  • adapting to drought in the Waikato project and a water security strategy
  • shovel-ready projects.  A total of around $26 million in grant funding has been secured for multiple environmental restoration, biosecurity and climate resilience projects totalling about $40 million across the Waikato region.
  • update of criteria for Environmental funds to include resilience to a changing climate, and carbon sequestration
  • at my urging, the council purchased the Transport 2030 tool to assist with quantifying the carbon implications of regional transport investment decisions.
  • inclusion of climate as a strategic priority in Waikato Regional Council’s 10-year strategy,
  • hosting of numerous guest speakers at Climate Action Committee meetings and workshops

This is just a snapshot of the WRC climate actions taken since I was elected.  For a complete list ….

Denis Tegg – Thames Coromandel Representative on Waikato Regional Council

One thought on “My Climate Action Scorecard

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