10 Dec 2019

Climate change: Auckland Council outlines plan to cut own emissions

2:24 pm on 10 December 2019

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says there'll be no major increase in climate change spending next year, despite the council declaring a climate emergency just six months ago.

No caption

Climate change protesters took to the streets earlier this year in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Jordan Bond

Mr Goff has outlined his first budget plan since the council voted to declare the emergency in June.

But there could not be any significant spending before a climate action framework was worked through, he said.

Any major policy and spending changes would need to be approved in the long term plan, which would need to be consulted on first, he said.

But for the next financial year, the council would lead by example by getting its own house in order, he said.

If today's plan was adopted, the council would cut its own emissions by 20 percent by reducing the number of cars in its 1000-plus fleet, switching more of them to electric power, and use electricity instead of gas to power its pools.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

"Is that enough? No. But if every private firm for the next three to four years reduced their carbon emissions by 20 percent we'd be making a huge difference and we are showing leadership in this area," he said.

It would up its tree planting to 1.5 million trees for this term to create carbon sinks and continue to lobby the government to help change its train and bus fleet to electric, Mr Goff said.

The council would also invest in research and a review into how it could reach its climate goals, continue to fund education programmes, and increase subsidies for children to travel on public transport, he said.

All of the items in today's proposal would go out for public consultation in February before the council formally decided whether to adopt them in June.

Other items proposed included a living wage for all council contractors, spending for the city's major events in 2021 including the America's Cup and Te Matatini.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs